Russian-made missile responsible for MH17 crash

A Russian-made Buk missile was responsible for the crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 (MH17), the Dutch Safety Board (DSB) has concluded.

The findings have emerged in the DSB’s final report on the MH17, which was shot down in July last year killing all 283 passengers and 15 crew on board. 

There were 10 Britons on board the Malaysia Airlines flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.

"A 9n314m warhead detonated outside the aeroplane to the left side of the cockpit. This fits the kind of warhead installed in the Buk surface-to-air missile system," said DSB head Tjibbe Joustra.

The Board identified the area from which the missile was launched but declined to comment further on the exact site.

However, all the territory within the 320 square kilometre area it identified was in rebel hands at the time of the crash.

Russia has disputed the type of missile used but has contended that if the plane was brought down by a missile, it must have been launched by Ukrainian government forces.

The report said the impact was instantly fatal to the three crew members in the cockpit of the plane while the rest of the crew and passengers died due to decompression, reduced oxygen levels, extreme cold, powerful airflow and flying objects.

It added: "It cannot be ruled out that some occupants remained conscious during the 60 to 90 seconds before the plane crashed."

At the time, flight operators had been told that air space above 32,000ft was open, despite a number of military planes being brought down in recent days.

However, the board said that the 61 airlines that had continued flying there should have recognised the potential danger. The report recommended international aviation rules be changed to force operators to be more transparent about their choice of routes.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4, Claudio Villaca-Vanetta, whose husband Glenn Thomas died on board the plane, said: "We had some of the answers we were looking for today, but by far not all of them.

"We now know for sure that Malaysia Airlines was allowed to fly there, and we know now that it was a bad decision by Ukraine to leave the airspace open and that by just raising the cruise height it was safe for commercial airliners. We know there was a missile which is manufactured in Russia only.

"Of course, this doesn't tell us who did it, who is accountable for it. That is where we want to get now."

Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte has said that tracking down and prosecuting the perpetrators is a ‘key priority’.

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