There are no indications that the MH17 crash was caused by a technical fault or by actions of the crew, Dutch Safety Board (DSB) said in its preliminary report on the investigation into what brought down Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine on July 17.
The preliminary report presents factual information based on the sources available to the DSB, the Hague-based aviation watchdog said, adding it “expects to publish the final report within a year after the crash.”
Flight MH17 with a Boeing 777-200 operated by Malaysia Airlines broke up in the air probably as the result of structural damage caused by a large number of high-energy objects that penetrated the aircraft from outside, DSB said in its report.
The cockpit voice recorder, the flight data recorder and data from air traffic control all suggest that flight MH17 proceeded as normal until 13:20:03 (UTC), after which it ended abruptly.
A full listening of the communications among the crew members in the cockpit recorded on the cockpit voice recorder revealed no signs of any technical faults or an emergency situation.
Neither were any warning tones heard in the cockpit that might have pointed to technical problems. The flight data recorder registered no aircraft system warnings, and aircraft engine parameters were consistent with normal operation during the flight.
The radio communications with Ukrainian air traffic control confirm that no emergency call was made by the cockpit crew. The final calls by Ukrainian air traffic control made between 13.20:00 and 13.22:02 (UTC) remained unanswered.
The pattern of wreckage on the ground suggests that the aircraft split into pieces during flight (an in-flight break up). Based on the available maintenance history the airplane was airworthy when it took off from Amsterdam and there were no known technical problems. The aircraft was manned by a qualified and experienced crew.
“The MH17 crash has shocked the world and raised many questions. The Dutch Safety Board wishes to determine the cause of the crash, for the sake of the loved ones of the victims and for society at large,” said DSB chairman Tjibbe Joustra.
“The initial results of the investigation point towards an external cause of the MH17 crash. More research will be necessary to determine the cause with greater precision. The Safety Board believes that additional evidence will become available for investigation in the period ahead.”
“The preliminary report issues the first findings in a ongoing investigation. From this point on, the investigation team will be working towards producing its final report. The Board aims to publish this report within one year of the date of the crash.”