Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 broke apart over Ukraine due to “large number of high-energy objects” from outside the aircraft, the Dutch Safety Board said in a preliminary report into the disaster that killed 298 people, two thirds of them from the Netherlands.
The report, published on Tuesday, also said that “there are no indications that the MH17 crash was caused by a technical fault or by actions of the crew”.
Dutch aviation investigators relied on information from the black box flight data recorders, air traffic control, satellite images and photos from the scene to compile the preliminary report.
They said the plane “broke up in the air probably as the result of structural damage caused by a large number of high-speed objects that penetrated the aircraft from outside.”
The cockpit voice recorder revealed no signs of any technical faults or an emergency situation, the experts said.
The plane was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur when it crashed in eastern Ukraine.
While it is not the final report into the crash, the findings are significant because they are the first official account of what happened, says the BBC’s Anna Holligan in the Netherlands. The findings support earlier assertions that the plane was hit by a missile, reuters.com state.
Ukraine’s government and several Western leaders say there is strong evidence that pro-Russian separatists shot down the plane with an anti-aircraft system known as Buk. Russia has consistently denied allegations that it had supplied any missiles or weapons to the rebels.
Experts from the UK, Germany, Australia, Malaysia, the US, Ukraine and Russia are collaborating on the case. The board says it expects the final report to be published within a year.
www.belsat.eu/en, following Reuters, BBC