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MH17 was shot down by Russian-made missile

October 13, 2015 6:05 pm

Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 was shot down over war-torn eastern Ukraine by a Russian-made Buk missile, the Dutch Safety Board says.

The plane was blown out of the sky in July 2014, killing 298 people, including two New Zealanders.

The board released its final report on Tuesday, first to the victims’ relatives and then to reporters at a news conference at the Gilze-Rijen Air Base in the Netherlands.

The long-awaited findings of the board, which was not empowered to address questions of responsibility, did not specify who launched the missile.

The West and Ukraine have said Russian-backed rebels brought down the Boeing 777. But Russia has claimed a missile was fired from Ukrainian-controlled territory.

The report does not say who fired the missile, but says airspace over eastern Ukraine should have been closed.

The plane – flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur – crashed at the height of the conflict between government troops and pro-Russian separatists.

Relatives of some of those who died were told victims would have lost consciousness almost immediately, the BBC reported.

The board found the missile hit the front left of the plane, as a result of which part of the plane broke off.

The plane, which was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, crashed in rebel-held eastern Ukraine on 17 July 2014 at the height of the conflict between government troops and the pro-Russian separatists. The victims included 196 Dutch nationals.

A separate Dutch-led criminal investigation is under way.
The report says the three crew members in the cockpit were killed by the missile explosion instantly.

However, it adds, it was unclear at which point the others died, and the possibility of some remaining conscious for some time during the one-and-a-half minutes it took for the plane to go down could not be ruled out.