herald

Thursday 19 October 2017

Black box shows flight MH17 was brought down by a 'massive explosion'

Flight MH17 was brought down by shrapnel that caused "massive explosive decompression", analysis of the black box recorders has found.

The results, given yesterday by Ukrainian security official Andriy Lysenko, have, however, left Dutch officials stunned as they did not expect the "premature" announcement.

Mr Lysenko told a news conference that the fragments had come from a rocket blast.

His source, however, is under scrutiny after the Dutch Safety Board (DSB) confirmed they did not give the information to Ukraine.

DSB spokeswoman Sara Vernooij said: "I can't make a comment on what source Mr Lysenko has. We don't want to confirm or say anything about the information on the black boxes right now; this in the best interest of the investigation itself.

"We want to analyse [and] combine information of several sources before we bring out anything, so we can give a coherent view on the whole investigation.

"Bringing out fragmented pieces of information is not on behalf of the investigation."

The board, which is leading the investigation, had been expected to release its initial findings on August 1.

It did not question the veracity of Mr Lysenko's claims.

It comes as a senior UN diplomat claims that the downing of MH17 could "amount to a war crime".

Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights yesterday called for an immediate and wide-ranging investigation into the shooting down of the Malaysian Airlines passenger plane.

Pillay's comments coincided with a new report by her office that says at least 1,129 people had been killed and 3,442 wounded in Ukraine's fighting as of Saturday, and more than 100,000 have fled the violence since April.

"This violation of international law, given the prevailing circumstances, 
may amount to a war crime," Pillay said of the downed jetliner, which US and Ukrainian officials say was shot down by a missile from rebel territory, most likely by mistake.

"It is imperative that a prompt, thorough, effective, independent and impartial investigation be conducted into this event," she said.

The Kuala Lumpur-bound flight crashed in eastern Ukraine on rebel-held territory amid incessant violence and wrangling between pro-Russian militants and Ukrainian troops.

It is thought that the Boeing 777 was shot down on July 17 by a surface-to-air missile

Some western countries, including Ukraine, blame rebels for the MH17 crash, in addition to Russia for allegedly supplying militants with arms, while separatists and Russian President Vladimir Putin deny the allegations, blaming Ukrainian military jets.

A full-fledged investigation still has not begun at the crash site. Some bodies are still unrecovered and the site has been forensically compromised.

hnews@herald.ie

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