The final moments of passengers and crew aboard the doomed Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 will be detailed in a fortnight with the Dutch Safety Board today announcing its 15 month probe is over.
The Board last night announced it was ready to make the report public, and also reveal its reconstructed fuselage of the aircraft shot down over east Ukraine last July killing all 298 on-board including 38 Australians citizens and residents.
But critically, investigators will answer the difficult question as to what — if anything — the passengers and crew knew of their fate as their aircraft was hit by what has already been revealed to be a Russian-made BUK missile.
A spokesman for the Board said four critical factors would be answered: the cause of the crash, the issue of flying over conflict areas, why Dutch surviving relatives of the victims had to wait two to four days before receiving confirmation from the Dutch authorities that their loved ones were on board flight MH17 and lastly the question “to what extent the occupants of flight MH17 were consciously (sic) of the crash.”
Those harrowing last moments will be told to the relatives of the victims in advance of the report’s public release on October 13.
“The investigation was not concerned with questions of blame or liability. It is the purpose of the criminal investigation to answer those,” the Board said in a statement, clarifying it would not name those suspected of being behind the downing of the civilian passenger aircraft. That report by the multinational police team, including officers from the Australian Federal Police, is expected in December.
Tjibbe Joustra, chairman of the Dutch Safety Board, will release the report himself at the Gilze-Rijen air force base in the south of the country where the fuselage of the aircraft has been meticulously pieced together.
The families have been invited to see that reconstruction and such has been the interest, the Dutch have built temporary accommodation for the visitors.
“Using the recovered pieces of wreckage, part of the cockpit and the business class section have been reconstructed,” the Board said.
Investigators suspect MH17 was taken down by a BUK surface-to-air missile system on July 17th 2014, at 16.20 hr. Fragments from a Russian-made BUK were confirmed by investigators to have been found at the scene. It was suspected the missile system was used by Russian-backed local separatists.
As revealed by News Corp Australia three months ago, footage shot by the rebels themselves show their surprise when they arrive at the crash site to find what they think should be a Ukrainian fighter plane they had shot down only to instead find the burning wreckage of the passenger aircraft.
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