Investigators Conclude MH-17 Shot Down By Russian Missile
PHOTO: The moment of impact two years ago. (Photo via Twitter)
After a two-year inquiry, a Dutch-led team of investigators concluded this morning that Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down in July of 2014 by a Russian-made missile fired from an area in Ukraine controlled by pro-Russian rebels.
The flight, which originated in Amsterdam and was headed to Malaysia, disintegrated over a wide swath of Ukraine. All 298 people on board were killed.
The Joint Investigation Team (JIT) said at a news conference today that the weapon was a Russian Buk surface-to-air missile launcher that had been moved into eastern Ukraine at the time of the incident, and later moved back to Russia after the Boeing 777 was brought down.
Russian officials have vehemently denied the charges, saying the plane was fired upon by the Ukrainian military during a time when conflicts among pro-Russian separatists and pro-Ukraine loyalists were prevalent in the area.
But JIT investigators ruled out the possibility that the aircraft was brought down in another manner, such as another plane or an accident.
The Dutch said traces of explosives and paint were found on the plane’s wreckage that matched the paint to a missile carrying a specific type of warhead.
After the missile was launched, it exploded within three feet of the aircraft, just to the left and above the cockpit spraying hundreds of fragments into the air and killing the two pilots and another crew member instantly. MH-17 then crashed to the ground.
Investigators said the pilots had no reaction time to try to maneuver away from the missile nor to make a mayday call, and that “the impact on the ground was not survivable.”
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