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Posted by on Oct 13, 2015 in Disasters, International, Russia | 7 comments

Dutch Safety Board: Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 Downed by Russian-Made Buk Missile


On July 17, 2014, a Malaysia Airlines aircraft on its way from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur with 298 souls on board was shot out of the sky over eastern Ukraine by what was suspected to be a surface-to-air missile.

Of the 298 people on board Flight MH17, 193 were Dutch. Once more, the loss of life suffered by the Dutch was disproportional to the population of that small country.

It was thus only appropriate that the Netherlands should lead the investigation into the disaster.

Today, after a 15-month inquiry, a Dutch Safety Board has concluded that the aircraft was probably struck by a Russian-made surface-to-air missile.

The New York Times:

The findings — based in part on a distinctive shrapnel pattern that was found in the cockpit, near where the missile hit — come from a five-nation investigative team that retrieved and sifted through several tons of debris and human remains and even reconstructed the aircraft as part of its study.


“Flight MH17 crashed as a result of the detonation of a warhead outside the airplane above the left-hand side of the cockpit,” said Tjibbe Joustra, chairman of the Dutch Safety Board, using a common reference to the flight number. The explosion tore off the forward part of the plane, which broke up in the air. The crash killed all 298 people aboard; the investigation found that many died instantly, while others quickly lost consciousness. “It is likely that the occupants were barely able to comprehend their situation,” the board found.


While the findings stop short of assigning responsibility for the crash, a task that has been left to Dutch prosecutors, they appear consistent with a theory widely promoted by the authorities in the United States and Ukraine: that the plane, a Boeing 777, was shot down by Russian-backed separatists armed with an SA-11, or Buk, surface-to-air missile launcher.

Russia, which has disputed that theory all along, continues to do so “with a competing presentation, saying that the missile must have been fired from Ukrainian-held territory, and that it was of a type that is no longer found in Russia’s arsenal,” according to the Times.

The Dutch report is also critical of the Ukrainian authorities for failing to close the airspace above the conflict zone.

Please read more details about the investigation and the results here.

Today, the NATO Secretary General released the following statement on the investigation results:

I welcome today’s release of the Dutch Safety Board’s report into the tragic downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH-17.

I commend the Dutch Safety Board for conducting an independent, neutral and open investigation. Their report fulfils the objectives set out by the United Nations Security Council and the investigation was conducted in full accordance with the rules and procedures of the International Civil Aviation Organisation.

This report contributes to provide answers to the many questions from the families of the victims.

The findings confirm that it was a Buk-missile which brought down the aircraft.

Those directly and indirectly responsible for the downing of MH17 should be held accountable and brought to justice as soon as possible.

Lead photo: People place flowers at Dutch embassy in Kiev after Malaysia Airlines Flight MH-17 originating in Amsterdam crashed in Eastern Ukraine.
katatonia82 /

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  • dduck12

    We all know the outcome of this: Whoops, just another accident, like in Kunduz.

  • The_Ohioan

    Those of us who have lost young loved ones know how very painful that is. To know they are victims of a vicious careless attack by people who care for nothing but destroying a perceived enemy no matter who gets in the way can only add to their sorrow.

    The airline that chose that route over safety concerns should be sued into the ground never to rise again. They don’t have enough integrity to serve the public.

    • DdW


      If I understand correctly from reading your comment that you have lost a young loved one, I am very sorry. I can not even imagine how painful that must be.

      The Times article I quoted from has several paragraphs questioning why MH17 was flying “over an area where an armed conflict was taking place.”

      Although Malaysian airlines is probably at least partially culpable/negligent, the blame seems to be placed — at least right now — on the Ukrainian authorities for failing to close the airspace.

      The Board found that “160 civil aviation flights went through on the day of the crash before the airspace was closed”

      I am sure there will much more fallout in the form of criminal and civil legal actions against several parties.

      • The_Ohioan

        Thank you, Dorian. It is indescribably painful; a truly life shifting experience.

        • DdW

          Just want to acknowledge your reply, T.O. and to say once more, so sorry. If it would at all help, we can talk off-line about it.

          • The_Ohioan

            Thank you.

    • dduck12

      There were 55 planes over Donetsk that day.

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