MH17 report 'points to' missile attack
MALAYSIA Airlines Flight MH17 crashed in eastern Ukraine after being hit by "a large number of high-energy objects", the Dutch Safety Board said in findings that appear to point to a missile attack on the plane.
The Boeing 777 broke up in the air, most likely as a result of structural damage after being penetrated from the outside, the Hague-based investigator said in the first official report into the July 17 tragedy that killed 298 people.
"There are no indications that the MH17 crash was caused by a technical fault or by actions of the crew," the safety board said, adding that the flight had proceeded as normal, "after which it ended abruptly".
MH17 was carrying 283 passengers and 15 crew members when it went down while travelling over a war zone in eastern Ukraine, en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.
The United States has said the aircraft was most likely destroyed by a surface-to-air missile fired by pro-Russia rebels, while the breakaway groups and Russian President Vladimir Putin have blamed Ukrainian forces.
An analysis of the plane's cockpit voice recorder revealed no warning tones in the cockpit, and no emergency was declared by the flight crew, the report said.
"The pattern of wreckage on the ground suggests that the aircraft split into pieces during flight," it added.
The preliminary findings are based on the cockpit voice recorder, flight data recorder, data from air traffic control, radar images and satellite photos, the board had said on Aug 11.
A final report with more detailed conclusions is due within a year of the crash.