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Dutch Experts To Release Preliminary Report On MH17 Crash

  • RFE/RL

A member of a group of international experts inspecting the site where the downed Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 crashed, near the village of Hrabove in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine, in mid-July.

A member of a group of international experts inspecting the site where the downed Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 crashed, near the village of Hrabove in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine, in mid-July.

Dutch aviation experts investigating the crash of a Malaysian passenger jet during the armed conflict in eastern Ukraine are set to issue their preliminary findings.

The Dutch Safety Board is leading the international investigation and will post its preliminary report on its website.

Safety Board spokswoman Sara Vernooij said the board was investigating the cause of the crash "and not who's responsible."

She said it was possible to draw meaningful conclusions even though Dutch investigators have been unable to visit the site in Ukraine's Donetsk region.

All 298 passengers and crew aboard the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 died in the July 17 crash, more than 190 of them Dutch nationals.

The preliminary report should include information from the so-called black boxes, which record flight data and cockpit conversations, as well as satellite and radar imagery.

Western governments say their intelligence sources show pro-Russian separatists fighting government forces shot the plane down with a surface-to-air Buk missile.

Russia and the separatists deny the charge and blame Ukraine for the disaster.

Dozens of Malaysian and other international investigators are headed to Ukraine this week, where they hope to collect further evidence to determine the cause.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak has been quoted as saying, "First of all, we do have the intelligence reports [on] what happened to MH17 and the reports are pretty conclusive."

Najib suggested that a fundamental task of investigators hoping to return to the crash site this week will be to "assemble physical evidence that can be brought to court when the time comes so that it can be proven beyond any doubt that the plane was shot down by a missile."

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