Dutch Report: MH17 Passengers Likely Didn't Suffer

Russian-made missile exploded 3 feet from cockpit, shrapnel in pilots' bodies
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 13, 2015 7:00 AM CDT

A Dutch report on the MH17 crash concludes the plane was shot down by a Russian-made Buk surface-to-air missile that struck the front left side of the plane near the cockpit, Dutch Safety Board Chairman Tjibbe Joustra said at a press conference on Tuesday. The report, the result of a 15-month-long investigation, notes the explosion sent thousands of metal objects in all directions and hundreds hit the plane with "tremendous force," Joustra said, per the Guardian. He added shrapnel from the Buk missile was found inside the bodies of the pilots, who died instantly, along with traces of paint from a Buk missile. The BBC's Anna Holligan, who spoke to relatives briefed on the report, says all passengers and crew would've lost consciousness immediately as the plane broke apart in the air.

A 65-foot reconstruction of a portion of the plane, revealed at the press conference, showed holes perforating the upper part of the cockpit, according to reporter Luke Harding. "We can't be 100% sure" that no one suffered, "but we've got to sort of think that was the case," a relative says. The report mainly focuses on the cause of the crash and avoids "blame and culpability"; a separate criminal investigation will point fingers, reports AFP. The report at least rejects Moscow's claim that the Boeing 777 was downed by a missile fired by Ukrainian troops on July 17, 2014, on a flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. But about 30 minutes before the report's release, Moscow had dismissed it. "It's always special when people already know that they don't agree with a report that's not even published yet," Joustra said. (More Malaysia Airlines MH17 stories.)

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