Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crash
17 July 2014; Malaysia Airlines 777-200ER; 9M-MRD; flight MH17; near Grabovo, Ukraine: The aircraft was on a scheduled international flight between Amsterdam, the Netherlands and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The aircraft in cruise at about 33,000 feet when it experienced a catastrophic in flight breakup. All 283 passengers and 15 crew members were killed. The area of eastern Ukraine where the crash occurred was a conflict zone, and flights of commercial airliners were prohibited at altitudes below 32,000 feet.
The Dutch Safety Board published their final report on 13 October 2015, and concluded that the crash was caused by the detonation of an explosive warhead fired from a Buk surface to air missile. Below are links to the final report, as well as two videos published by the board.
Dutch Safety Board investigation (long version)
Dutch Safety Board investigation (short version)
Preliminary crash report
On 9 September 2014, the Dutch Safety Board, which at the request of Ukraine is heading the investigation, released their preliminary report about the crash. Because of the ongoing armed conflict in the area, the investigation focused on analysis of the information in the cockpit voice recorder (CVR) and flight data recorder (FDR), as well as information from photographs of the wreckage. Among the key findings and observations were:
- The aircraft at the time of departure was in an airworthy condition with no known technical malfunctions.
- There were no indications that either the CVR or FDR were altered.
- Both the CVR and FDR stopped recording at the same time.
- The last radio transmissions by the flight crew ended four seconds before the CVR and FDR stopped recording.
- The aircraft was on a constant speed, heading, and altitude when the FDR stopped recording.
- There were no indications of any technical or operation issue with the aircraft or the crew prior to the end of the CVR and FDR recordings.
- Three other commercial airliners, two 777s and an A330, were in the same general vicinity as flight MH17 at the time of the occurrence, with the closest aircraft about 30 km (18.6 miles) away.
- The aircraft experienced an inflight breakup, with the wreckage falling to the right of the projected flight path of the airliner.
- The penetration of the high velocity objects likely led to a loss of structural integrity, which in turn led to the inflight breakup.
- The cockpit was found about 2 km (1.25 miles) from the last position recorded by the FDR, and the main wreckage area about 8 km (5 miles) from the last recorded postion.
- Damage in the cockpit area and forward fuselage was consistent with multiple high velocity projectiles penetrating the aircraft, with the source of those projectiles being above and outside of the aircraft.
- The pattern of damage to the cockpit and forward fuselage was not consistent with the damage expected from any known failure mode of the aircraft, its engines, or systems.
What the preliminary report did not discuss
While it has been widely reported, both by the media and by a number of governments, that the aircraft was shot down by a surface to air missile, the Dutch Safety Board did not directly discuss the source of the high velocity projectiles that hit the aircraft. Also not mentioned in this preliminary report were the result of any forensic examinations of the passengers and crew members, or of any of the wreckage found on the site. Another key area not examined was how the government of Ukraine managed flight safety over a region of active military conflict.
Ongoing criminal investigation
A separate criminal investigation, led by the Dutch National Office of the Public Prosecution Service, and consisting of representatives from other parts of the Dutch government, as well as representatives from Malaysia, Australia, Belgium, and Ukraine, sought to assign responsibility for launching the missile the shot down flight MH17, and to bring the responsible party or parties to justice. Their preliminary report was published in June 2016, and a final report was scheduled to be released in late September 2016.
Related interviews and articles
- 10 September 2014 - CJOB radio interview on interim report on the flight MH17 crash
- 23 July 2014 - KIQI radio interview about flight MH17 and MH370
- 29 June 2014 - Passenger killed by shots fired at airliner
- 19 July 2014 - Seven AirSafe.com interviews about MH17
- 20 July 2014 - Passenger deaths due to missile strikes
- 23 July 2014 - Al Jazeera America interview about the flight MH17 investigation
- 23 July 2014 - KIQI radio interview about flights MH17 and MH370 (Spanish and English)
- 24 July 2014 - Plane crashes do happen in threes
- 24 July 2014 - CJAD interview on MH17 and two subsequent crashes
- 25 July 2014 - Two BBC interviews on three airliner crashes in one week
- 26 July 2014 - CTV interview on increasing safety concerns
- 26 July 2014 - Rudy Maxa show interview on crash frequency since 1996
- 28 July 2014 - ICAO to discuss flights over conflict areas
- 29 July 2014 - Three airliner crashes in one week is not that rare
- 30 July 2014 - CJOB interview about defending airliners from missiles
- 10 September 2014 - CJOB radio interview on interim flight MH17 crash report
- Other AirSafe.com interviews: Podcast | iTunes | TuneIn
Revised: 28 September 2016