THE MH17 crash was a result of structural damage caused by a large number of high-energy objects that struck the Boeing from the outside, the preliminary report into the Malaysia Airlines disaster in Ukraine said.
‘Flight MH17 with a Boeing 777-200 operated by Malaysia Airlines broke up in the air probably as the result of structural damage caused by a large number of high-energy objects that penetrated the aircraft from outside,’ the Dutch Safety Board said in its preliminary report.
Dutch investigators added that: ‘There are no indications’ that the tragedy was triggered ‘by a technical fault or by actions of the crew’.
The Malaysia Airlines plane en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur with 298 people aboard crashed in Ukraine’s Donetsk region on July 17. The majority of those on the plane – which was allegedly shot down – were citizens of the Netherlands.
The cockpit voice recorder, the flight data recorder and data from air traffic control all suggest that flight MH17 proceeded as normal until 13:20:03 GMT, after which it ended abruptly.
The cockpit crew made no emergency call, the radio communications with Ukrainian air traffic control shows.
‘The final calls by Ukrainian air traffic control made between 13.20:00 and 13.22:02 (GMT) remained unanswered,’ the report said.
The plane was ‘split into pieces during flight,’ the investigators said, based on the analysis of the pattern of wreckage on the ground.
The Dutch investigators said that ‘available images show that the pieces of wreckage were pierced in numerous places’.
The fact that the plane was damaged from the outside ‘also explains the abrupt end to the data registration on the recorders, the simultaneous loss of contact with air traffic control and the aircraft’s disappearance from radar,’ the report says.
The report says that the flight recorder was ‘found damaged but the internal memory module was intact.’
‘The external damage found on the (flight data recorder) was consistent with impact damage.’
The radar data from the aircraft shows that ‘three commercial aircraft were in the same Control Area’ as the Malaysia Airlines plane.
At 13.20 UTC (GMT) the distance between the closest aircraft and MH17 was approximately 30 kilometers,’ the document says.