Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17: Final Moments Revealed

The Dutch Safety Board, which was investigating the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 crash in which all 298 people on board the aircraft were killed, said that the crash occurred because of a Russian-made Buk missile.

Because the majority of the passengers on Flight MH17 were Dutch, the investigation was handed over to the Netherlands to complete the inquiry. It was the Dutch Safety Board that investigated the Malaysia Airlines plane wreck, and it produced a final report with its findings on the disaster.

The report made it clear that the Dutch Safety Board was not responsible for placing blame or liability for the crash of Flight MH17. The board was only responsible for investigating the reasons why the Malaysia Airlines plane went down.

On July 17, 2014, Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 was struck down over Ukraine. The wreckage of Flight MH17 was found in six different sites, which spread over about 20 square miles. At the time, the cause of the catastrophe was not clear, but it was believed that Flight MH17 had been shot down. The report conducted by the Dutch Safety Board confirmed this belief.

Flight MH17 warhead detonation
This illustration shows where the warhead detonated above Flight MH17 [Photo Courtesy of Dutch Safety Board]

The Malaysia Airlines plane went down after a warhead detonated outside of the front left of the aircraft. Those in the cockpit were killed immediately. Once the cockpit was struck, it instantly separated from the rest of the aircraft. After analysis of the fragments found on the plane and in the bodies of the flight crew that were present in the cockpit at the time of impact, the DSB concluded what type of missile struck the Malaysia Airlines plane and that the warhead had been launched from the ground.

"The aeroplane was struck by a 9N314M warhead as carried on a 9M38-series missile and launched by a Buk surface-to-air missile system."
According to BBC, the Ukrainians blame the rebels that are sided by the Russians, but the Russians say that it was the Ukrainian army that shot down the Malaysia Airlines airplane.

Fragments from warhead
Fragments from the warhead found in the bodies of the flight crew (Left from the First Officer's body and right from the Captain's) [Photo Courtesy of Dutch Safety Board]

The fragments that helped identify which type of warhead took down Flight MH17 did not help much in identifying where it came from. The Russians insist that the "bow-tie" shaped fragments, that are said to only be used in the 9N314M could have been used in the weapons that the Ukrainian army possesses. The Russians indicated that the "bow-tie" fragments have been phased out of their weapons.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk says that he does not doubt that the disaster of Flight MH17 was "a planned operation of the Russian special services."

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov, however, believes that the investigation of the crash of the Malaysia Airlines craft was "biased in nature." He said that Russia was "ready to present its own information" in regards to the Flight MH17 calamity.

Autopsies from the report concluded that it was impossible to determine whether or not the passengers of Flight MH17 died before impact. It is possible that some were entirely conscious during the time it took for the Malaysia Airlines plane to make impact with the ground.

Flight MH17 Mask
This oxygen mask was found on the body of one of the passengers of Flight MH17 [Photo Courtesy of Dutch Safety Board]

One passenger was found with an oxygen mask around the neck, as if the passenger had put it on when the masks were released from overhead. The report said that DNA analysis could not be performed, therefore it could not be concluded whether or not the passenger had actually put the mask on. The fact that the strap was around the neck and the mask was on the throat of the passenger gives reason to believe that at least this passenger was conscious after the missile struck Flight MH17 and as the aircraft began its in-flight break-up.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak remarked that Malaysia's "commitment to bringing the perpetrators to justice remains as strong as it was on that fateful day 17 July 2014."

Headed by the Dutch, a criminal investigation into the disaster of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 is underway.

[Photo Courtesy of Brenden Hoffman/Getty Images]