Updated: October 13, 2015 5:54:51 pm
Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down over eastern Ukraine by a Russian-made Buk missile, the Dutch Safety Board concluded on Tuesday in its final report on the July 2014 crash that killed all 298 people on board. The long-awaited findings of the board, which was not empowered to address questions of responsibility, did not specify who launched the missile.
“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 Safety Board head Tjibbe Joustra, presenting the report. Russia had disputed the type of missile used, he added.
At a meeting with victims’ families earlier Tuesday, Joustra said passengers who were not killed by the impact of the missile would have been rendered unconscious by the sudden decompression of the aircraft and a lack of oxygen at 33,000 feet, Joustra was speaking at the Gilze-Rijen military base where the flight cabin and business class section of the Boeing 777 have been assembled painstakingly from wreckage brought back from Ukraine.
The board also found that Ukraine had reason to close airspace over the conflict zone, and that the 61 airlines that had continued flying there should have recognized the potential danger. It recommended international aviation rules be changed to force operators to be more transparent about their choice of routes.