The Malaysian prime minister, however, added that the investigation must be carried out further to establish all details of the tragic event.
The Dutch Safety Board, which is leading the investigation and coordinating the international team of investigators, said in its preliminary report published on Tuesday that “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.”
According to the report, all data collected from the cockpit recorder, the flight data recorder and the traffic control suggested that the flight proceeded normally until 4:20 p.m. local Ukrainian time (13:20 UTC), when it was suddenly lost.
Chairman of the Dutch Safety Board Tjibbe Joustra said that the findings presented in Tuesday’s report were preliminary and the investigation’s final report would be published by mid-July next year.
“The preliminary report issues the first findings in an ongoing investigation,” Joustra said. “From this point on, the investigation team will be working towards producing its final report. The [Dutch Safety] Board aims to publish this report within one year of the date of the crash.”
International experts from the Netherlands, Australia and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) began arriving at the airliner crash site near the settlement of Hrabove, 79 km (49 miles) north of Donetsk, since July 31 in search of the missing bodies of passengers and aircraft’s remains. Before that, they had not been able to carry out their search operation for a week over incessant fighting between the local self-defense militia and pro-Kiev troops.
The search resumed after the warring sides agreed on a ceasefire around the airliner wreckage area and on a security corridor for the arrival of experts and their work at the crash site.