MH17 crash investigation team to publish preliminary findings

Dutch-led inquiry into downing of plane over Ukraine, killing all 298 on board, will release early findings on 9 September

Dutch authorities leading an international investigation into the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine plan to publish a preliminary report next week.

The Dutch Safety Board said on Thursday the report would present factual information based on the sources available. A spokesman, Wim van der Weegen, said those sources include satellite imagery, radar details and data from the plane's black box recorders.

Investigators had not visited the site in conflict-stricken Ukraine, where wreckage of the plane plunged to the ground on 17 July, killing all 298 passengers, though they did have photos, he said.

The report will outline what investigators believe happened, but will not apportion blame. "What this investigation does is compare all these sources, and see whether they agree," he said. "The investigation is still in full swing and the definitive report will be released within a year, according to international civil aviation rules."

Flight MH17 was shot down while flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur over an area of Ukraine controlled by pro-Russia separatists. Victims came from 10 countries – most were Dutch, but there were also many Malaysians and Australians.

Pro-Russia rebels in Ukraine have denied responsibility for shooting down the craft, but one senior rebel told Associated Press they were involved.

The Netherlands is coordinating criminal investigations into the disaster by multiple countries, including Australia, Belgium, Malaysia and Ukraine.

Remains of many – but probably not all – victims were gathered in the days after the crash and flown to the Netherlands for identification. From these remains, 183 victims have been identified so far.

Searches of the crash site were halted on 6 August amid concerns that fighting in the area posed a threat to searchers.

Associated Press in Amsterdam

The GuardianTramp

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