MH17 crash: Dutch experts say numerous objects hit plane


TBT International Desk: A preliminary report into the Malaysia Airlines’ Flight MH17 crash in July indicates that the plane broke up in the air, probably as a result of structural damage caused by a large number of high-energy objects that penetrated the aircraft from the outside.

The 34-page report, issued by the Dutch Safety Board today, also said that there were no indications that the MH17 crash in eastern Ukraine, which killed all 298 people on board, was caused by a technical fault or actions of the crew.

It said the pattern of damage observed in the forward fuselage and cockpit section of the aircraft was not consistent with the damage that would be expected from any known failure mode of the aircraft, its engines or systems.

“The fact that there were many pieces of aircraft structure distributed over a large area indicated that the aircraft broke up in the air,” the board said in the report.

The report contained initial information of the investigation into the crash involving the Malaysian B777-200 plane registered as 9M-MRD performing Flight MH17 from Amsterdam Airport Schiphol to the KL International Airport (KLIA) in Sepang on July 17.

The report said that at the time of the occurrence, Flight MH17 was flying at Flight Level (FL) 330 in unrestricted airspace of the Dnipropetrovs’k flight information region (FIR) in the eastern part of Ukraine.

“The Ukrainian State Air Traffic Service Enterprise (UkSATSE) had issued Notices to Airmen (NOTAMs) that restricted access to the airspace below FL320 in the southern part of the FIR,” it said.

This was due to hostilities between armed groups and Ukrainian armed forces. Flight MH17 was carrying 283 passengers and 15 crew members.

They comprised 193 Dutch nationals as well as 43 Malaysians, 27 Australians, 12 Indonesians, 10 citizens of the United Kingdom, four Germans, four Belgians, three Philippine nationals, one Canadian and one New Zealand citizen.

The report stated that the Malaysian Boeing 777-200 plane flew on a constant heading, speed and altitude when the flight data recording ended.

Both the recordings of the cockpit voice recorder (CVR) and flight data recorder (FDR) ended at 13.20:03 hours (in coordinated universal time).

The last radio transmission made by the MH17 crew began at 13.19:56 hours and ended at 13.19:59 hours.

The last radio transmission made by Dnipropetrovs’k air traffic control (ATC) centre to Flight MH17 began at 13.20:00 hours and ended at 13.22:02 hours.

“The crew did not respond to these transmissions,” the Dutch safety body said, adding that no distress messages were received by the ATC.