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Malaysia Airlines Flight 17

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Title: Malaysia Airlines Flight 17  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: July 2014, 2015 in Malaysia, 2014–15 Russian military intervention in Ukraine, Malaysia Airlines, Igor Girkin
Collection: 2014 Controversies, 2014 in International Relations, 2014 in Malaysia, 2014 in the Netherlands, 2014 in Ukraine, 2014 Pro-Russian Unrest in Ukraine, Accidents and Incidents Involving the Boeing 777, Airliner Shootdown Incidents, Attacks in 2014, Aviation Accidents and Incidents in 2014, Aviation Accidents and Incidents in Ukraine, Donetsk People's Republic, History of Donetsk Oblast, Malaysia Airlines Accidents and Incidents, Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, Malaysia–netherlands Relations, Malaysia–ukraine Relations, Netherlands–ukraine Relations, War in Donbass
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Malaysia Airlines Flight 17

Malaysia Airlines Flight 17
9M-MRD, the aircraft shot down, photographed in October 2011
Shootdown summary
Date 17 July 2014
Summary Airliner shootdown
Site Near Hrabove, Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine
Passengers 283
Crew 15
Fatalities 298
Survivors 0
Aircraft type Boeing 777-200ER
Operator Malaysia Airlines
Registration 9M-MRD
Flight origin Amsterdam Airport Schiphol
Destination Kuala Lumpur International Airport

Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 (MH17/MAS17)[1] was a scheduled international passenger flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur that crashed on 17 July 2014 after being shot down, killing all 283 passengers and 15 crew on board.[2] The Boeing 777-200ER airliner lost contact about 50 km (31 mi) from the Ukraine–Russia border and crashed near Torez in Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine, 40 km (25 mi) from the border.[3] The crash occurred during the battle in Shakhtarsk Raion, part of the ongoing war in Donbass, in an area controlled by the Donbass People's Militia.[4]

According to American and German intelligence sources, the plane was shot down by pro-Russian insurgents using a Buk surface-to-air missile (SA-11) fired from the territory which they controlled.[5] Their judgement was based on sensors that traced the path of the missile, analysis of fragment patterns in the wreckage, voice print analysis of conversations in which separatist militants claimed credit for the strike, as well as photos and other data from social media sites.[6] On 13 October 2015, the Dutch Safety Board (DSB) released a final report on their investigation into the incident, concluding that the airliner was downed by a Buk surface-to-air 9M38-series missile with 9N314M warhead launched from Eastern Ukraine.[7]

The Russian government blamed the Ukrainian government for the incident.[6] Russia said that Ukraine "bears full, total responsibility" for the crash because it happened in Ukrainian airspace.[8]

Immediately after the crash, a post appeared on the VKontakte social media profile attributed to Russian Colonel Igor Girkin, leader of the Donbass separatists, claiming responsibility for shooting down an AN-26,[9][10][11] but after it became clear that a civilian aircraft had been shot down, the separatists denied any involvement, and the post was taken down. An independent analysis by Bellingcat of open-source evidence indicated that Russian-backed separatists were in control of a Buk missile launcher on 17 July and transported it from Donetsk to Snizhne,[12][13][14] while three eyewitnesses told the BBC that such a missile launcher was operated by a crew that seemed to be Russian in the area on that date.[15]

The Ukrainian government stated that the missile was launched by "Russian professionals and coordinated from Russia".[16][17] The German Federal Intelligence Service reportedly concluded that the plane was shot down by pro-Russian separatists using a captured Ukrainian Buk system.[18][19][20]

In July 2015, Malaysia proposed a United Nations resolution to set up an international tribunal to prosecute those suspected of being behind the downing of the plane. While the proposal gained a majority on the UN Security Council (11 countries voting for it, 3 abstaining), it was vetoed by Russia.[21][22]

The crash of Flight 17 was the fifth Boeing 777 hull loss.[23] The crash was Malaysia Airlines' worst incident and its second of the year, after the disappearance of Flight 370 four months earlier.[24]


  • Aircraft 1
  • Passengers and crew 2
  • Background 3
  • Crash 4
  • Aftermath 5
  • Investigation 6
    • Initial attempts 6.1
    • Cause of crash 6.2
    • Recovery of bodies 6.3
    • Dutch Safety Board preliminary report 6.4
    • Dutch Safety Board final report 6.5
    • Criminal investigation 6.6
  • Reactions 7
  • Russian media coverage 8
  • Maps 9
  • See also 10
  • Notes 11
  • References 12
  • External links 13


Aircraft involved, 9M-MRD, photographed at Perth Airport in 2010

Flight 17 was operated with a Boeing 777-2H6ER,[2] serial number 28411, registration 9M-MRD.[25] The 84th Boeing 777 produced, it first flew on 17 July 1997, exactly 17 years before the incident, and was delivered new to Malaysia Airlines on 29 July 1997.[26] Powered by two Rolls-Royce Trent 892 engines and carrying 280 seats (33 business and 247 economy), the aircraft had recorded more than 76,300 hours in 11,430 cycles before the crash.[27]:30 The aircraft was in an airworthy condition at departure.[27]:31

The Boeing 777, which entered commercial service on 7 June 1995, has one of the best safety records in commercial aircraft.[28] In June 2014 there were about 1,212 aircraft in service, with 340 more on order.[29]

Passengers and crew

People on board by nationality[27]:27
Nation Number
 Australia 27
 Belgium 4
 Canada[3] 1
 Germany[4] 4
 Indonesia 12
 Malaysia[5] 43
 Netherlands[6] 193
 New Zealand 1
 Philippines 3
 United Kingdom[7] 10
Total 298

The incident is the deadliest airliner shootdown incident to date.[30] All 283 passengers and 15 crew died.[27]:27 The crew were all Malaysian and about two-thirds (68%) of the passengers were Dutch,[31] while many of the other passengers were Australians and Malaysians.[32] By 19 July, the airline had determined the nationalities of all 298 passengers and crew.[24]

Among the passengers were delegates en route to the [292][293]

On 15 November, Russia's [297]

In January 2015 the Council of the European Union expressed concern over Russian statements questioning the investigation into the downing of flight MH 17 and emphasised that the investigation "is carried out by a fully independent expert team of international experts in full compliance with ICAO rules and regulations, and calls on all parties to fully cooperate with the investigation."[298]


Location of crash site; departure and destination airports
Amsterdam Airport Schiphol
Crash site
Kuala Lumpur International Airport
Location of departure, crash site and destination
Location of departure and crash site
Amsterdam Airport
Crash site
Location of departure and crash site
Presumed route ending in an area controlled by pro-Russian rebels[66][8]

See also


  1. ^ MH is the IATA designator and MAS is the ICAO designator. The flight is also marketed as KLM Flight 4103 (KL4103) through a codeshare agreement.[1]
  2. ^ The aircraft is a Boeing 777-200ER (for Extended Range) model; Boeing assigns a unique customer code for each company that buys one of its aircraft, which is applied as an infix in the model number at the time the aircraft is built. The code for Malaysia Airlines is "H6", hence "777-2H6ER".
  3. ^ Dual Canadian-Romanian citizen boarding with Canadian passport.
  4. ^ Including:
    • 1 dual German-Dutch citizen
  5. ^ 28 passengers and 15 crew
  6. ^ Including:
    • 1 dual Dutch-Belgian citizen;
    • 1 dual Dutch-Israeli citizen;
    • 1 dual Dutch-Italian citizen;
    • 1 dual Dutch-American citizen
  7. ^ Including:
    • 1 dual British-South African citizen; and
    • 1 dual British-New Zealand citizen.
  8. ^ "A United States official said the missile that shot down the plane was launched from a region near the towns of Torez and Snizhne"[259]


  1. ^ "Statement Malaysia Airlines MH17".  
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External links

  • MH17 Crash – Final report from DUTCH SAFETY BOARD, 2015-10-13 (English)
  • Investigation crash MH17, 17 July 2014 Donetsk – Dutch Safety Board
  • Media Statement & Information on Flight MH17 – Malaysia Airlines
  • Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 – Malaysia Ministry of Transport
  • Official MH17 Passenger Manifest – Malaysia Airlines
  • Full flight history for Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 – Flightradar24
  • Malaysia Airlines plane MH17 'shot down' in Ukraine – as it happened, The Guardian
  • Map of a Tragedy: How MH17 Came Apart Over Ukraine – The Wall Street Journal
  • Google Fusion Tables, Clickable Google map, that tells the story of every Dutch victim, created by newspaper Algemeen Dagblad (Dutch)
On 25 July, the liberal Russian opposition newspaper

Sara Firth, a correspondent with RT, for which she had worked over the previous five years, resigned in protest at the channel's coverage which she described as "shockingly obvious misinformation".[290] RT issued a statement after Firth went public with reasons for her resignation, saying "we were not surprised by Sara Firth's decision to leave RT after five years as a Moscow and London correspondent, as she has recently informed us that she was likely to take an offer from another firm".[291]

According to the poll conducted by the Levada Center between 18 and 24 July 80% of Russians surveyed believed that the crash of MH17 was caused by the Ukrainian military. Only 3% of respondents to the poll blamed the disaster on pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.[287][288][289]

[6] On 22 July an unnamed American official said that the Russian government was manipulating the media towards Russia's version of the story.[286] outlet [281] The Russian government-funded

On the evening following the crash, the portal released a statement saying that a "Ukrainian Air Force An-26 transport plane" had been shot down by a missile and crashed.[278] ITAR-TASS and RIA Novosti had also reported that an An-26 had been shot down by the militia (separatists) near Torez at around 16:00 local time.[279][280]

Media coverage of the crash in Russia has differed from coverage in most other countries of the world.[276][277]

Russian media coverage

A poem on the subject, "Requiem for MH-17" was written and broadcast by Andrei Orlov. In the poem he declared himself, along with all Russians, responsible for shooting down the plane.[275]

After the crash, memorial services were held in Australia[270] and in the Netherlands, which declared 23 July, the day when the first victims arrived in the country, a national day of mourning, the first since 1962.[271][272] The opening ceremony of the AIDS 2014 conference, of which several delegates were on board flight MH17, began with a tribute to the victims of the crash.[273] In Malaysia, makeshift memorials were created in the capital city of Kuala Lumpur.[274]

A makeshift memorial at the Schiphol Airport for the victims of flight MH17

The National Bureau of Air Accidents Investigation of Ukraine (NBAAI), under Article 26 of the Convention on International Civil Aviation.[268] The United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 2166 on 21 July, regarding an official crime investigation into the incident. On 24 July 2014 the ICAO issued a State Letter reminding signatory states of their responsibilities with respect to the safety and security of civil aircraft operating in airspace affected by conflict.[269]

The European Union's representatives José Manuel Barroso and Herman Van Rompuy released a joint statement calling for immediate and thorough investigation.[266] The EU officials also said that Ukraine has first claim on the plane's black boxes.[267]

Commenting on the response by the German government to questions about what military intelligence the government has on the downing of MH17, Alexander Neu, New Left Party MP and chairman of the Defence Committee, said, "The federal government has no knowledge of whether MH17 was shot in the Ukraine, and especially of which belligerent shot it down. Thus, there is blame based on wild speculation based on wishful thinking, and above all on political interests hostile to Russia."[263] Commander of the Donbass People's Militia Igor Girkin was quoted as stating that "a significant number of the bodies weren't fresh". He followed up by saying "Ukrainian authorities are capable of any baseness"; and also said that blood serum and medications were found in the plane's remnants in large quantities.[264][265]

United States President Barack Obama said the United States would help determine the cause.[3] In a press statement, White House spokesman Josh Earnest called for an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine to allow for a full investigation.[258] Vice-President Joe Biden said the plane appeared to have been deliberately shot down, and offered American assistance for the investigation into the crash.[255] American Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power called on Russia to end the war.[259] The British government requested an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council and called an emergency Cobra meeting after the incident.[260][261] Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin E. Dempsey has said that instead of backing away from supporting the rebels in the wake of the airline tragedy, Putin had "taken a decision to escalate."[262]

Russian President Putin said that Ukraine bears responsibility for the incident which happened in its territory, which he said would not have happened if hostilities had not resumed in the south-east of Ukraine.[3][254][255] He also said that it was important to refrain from making any hasty conclusions and politicised statements before the end of the investigation. He said that Russia would help an international inquiry led by the ICAO.[256] By end of July a Duma deputy Ilya Ponomarev said in an interview for German Die Welt that there's no doubts that it was the separatists who shot down the plane by mistake and "Putin now understood that he has passed the weapon to wrong people".[257]

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said in an address to parliament that the aircraft was downed by a missile which seems to have been launched by Russian-backed rebels.[250] Julie Bishop, the Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, said in an interview on an Australian television programme that it was "extraordinary" that her Russian counterparts have refused to speak to her over the shootdown after the Russian ambassador was summoned to meet her.[250] The Russian government was critical of Abbott's response; Abbott was one of the first world leaders to publicly connect the shootdown to Russia.[251] Abbott later criticised the recovery efforts as "shambolic", and "more like a garden clean-up than a forensic investigation"; Bishop publicly warned separatist forces against treating the victims' bodies as hostages.[252] Abbott also said in an interview on 13 October 2014, in anticipation of Russia's President Vladimir Putin's attendance at the 2014 G20 summit, scheduled for mid-November 2014 in Brisbane, Australia: "Australians were murdered. They were murdered by Russian-backed rebels using Russian-supplied equipment. We are very unhappy about this."[253]

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and King Willem-Alexander voiced their shock at the crash,[244][245] and Minister of Foreign Affairs Frans Timmermans joined the Dutch investigation team sent to Ukraine.[246] Dutch government buildings flew the flag at half-mast on 18 July.[247] Music was cancelled and festivities were toned down on the last day of the Nijmegen Marches.[248] On 21 July the Netherlands opened a war crimes investigation on the downing of the aircraft. The country's prosecutor is in Ukraine for that purpose. Rutte threatened tough action against Russia if it did not help in the investigation.[249]

Flag at half mast in front of city hall of Hoorn during the national day of mourning on 23 July

Malaysian Deputy Foreign Minister Hamzah Zainuddin said that the foreign ministry would be working with the Russian and Ukrainian governments with regard to the incident.[241] Prime Minister Najib Razak later said that Malaysia was unable to verify the cause of the crash and demanded that the perpetrators be punished.[242] The Malaysian government flew the national flag at half-mast from 18 July until 21 July.[243]

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko called the crash the result of an act of terrorism, and also called for an international investigation into the crash.[240]


The Netherlands discussed with the other JIT members a proposal to create an international tribunal to prosecute those suspected of downing the Malaysian airliner. This court would take up the case after the closing of the current criminal investigation. The Dutch hoped that an international tribunal would induce Russian cooperation, which is considered critical.[237] In late June 2015, the Russian government rejected a request by the five countries on the investigative committee to form a UN tribunal which would try those responsible for the shooting down of the aircraft, calling it "not timely and counterproductive."[238] On 8 July 2015, Malaysia, a member of the [21] Russia later circulated a rival resolution which didn't call for a tribunal, but instead criticised the international investigation and demanded those responsible for the crash be brought to justice.[239] In a vote, Malaysia's resolution gained majority support of the UNSC, but was vetoed by Russia.[22]

On 9 April 2015 Dutch authorities made available 569 documents concerning the accident. Personal information and official interviews had been redacted. 147 more documents were not made public.[236]

On 30 March 2015, the JIT released a Russian-language video calling for witnesses in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions who might have seen a Buk missile system. The video included some previously undisclosed recordings allegedly of tapped phone conversations between rebel fighters about the Buk. In one recording, of a conversation a few hours after the shoot down, a fighter says that a member of the Buk's accompanying crew had been left behind at a checkpoint. In another alleged recording, dated the day after the shootdown, a rebel says the Buk system and its crew had been brought from Russia by "the Librarian." The video presents a "scenario" whereby a BUK missile was transported on a Volvo low loader truck from Sjevernyi, a town located within a kilometer of the Russian border, to Donetsk during the night of 16/17 July.[233] In the week following the public appeal, the JIT received more than 300 responses resulting in dozens of "serious witnesses".[234][235]

In a letter to the UNSC, the Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of the Netherlands wrote that "The Dutch government is deliberately refraining from any speculation or accusations regarding legal responsibility for the downing of MH17.[231] During an appearance at the American Enterprise Institute, the Assistant Secretary of DoS's European and Eurasian Affairs said in December, "We have given all of our information, including our classified information to the Dutch who are the investigators and to ICAO… So any efforts to say that we have not are also untrue."[232]

Participating in the investigation along with the Netherlands, are the 4 other members of the Joint Investigation Team (JIT),[229] Belgium, Ukraine, Australia, and Malaysia.[230] Malaysia was the last to join the JIT, being accepted as a full member in late November 2014.[229]

The criminal investigation into the downing of MH17 is being led by the Public Prosecution Service of the Dutch Ministry of Justice. The investigation is the largest in Dutch history, involving dozens of prosecutors and 200 investigators with different specialties.[227] Detectives are looking at forensic samples from bodies and luggage, interviews with witnesses, satellite data, intercepted communications, and information on the Web.[228]

Criminal investigation

They found the crash was caused by a Buk surface-to-air 9M38-series missile with 9N314M warhead. The missile hit the left side of the cockpit and fired fragments, killing all the flight crew. The cockpit was then torn off by the impact, which meant it was likely that most passengers were unconscious by this time due to lack of oxygen. Based on evidence they were able to exclude meteor strikes, the plane having technical defects, a bomb, and a air-to-air attack as causes of the crash. The DSB calculated the trajectory of the missile and found it was fired within a 320-square-kilometre (120 sq mi) area southeast of Torez. Narrowing down a specific launch site was outside the DSB's mandate.[27] According to Al Jazeera, the area identified by the DSB was controlled by separitists at the time of the downing.[226]

The Dutch Safety Board issued its final report into the crash on 13 October 2015. There were 61 flight operators from 32 countries who flew over eastern Ukraine at the time, all who thought it was safe to fly there at cruising altitude. In the DSB's opinion, there was sufficient reason to fully close the airspace over eastern Ukraine as a precaution. The DSB recommended that states involved in armed conflicts should exercise more caution when evaluating their airspace, and operators should be more transparent into their methods of selecting flight routes.

Narrated reconstruction of the missile impact, produced by the Dutch Safety Board

Dutch Safety Board final report

Tjibbe Joustra, Chairman of the Dutch Safety Board, explained on the release date of the preliminary report that the investigation thus far "point towards an external cause of the MH17 crash", but determining the exact cause of the crash requires further investigation and investigators will be able to use "additional evidence" to produce the final report. The Board's press release for the preliminary report also established a time frame for the final report: "The Board aims to publish the report within one year of the date of the crash."[225]

The preliminary report concluded that the aircraft and crew prior to the ending of the CVR and FDR recording at 13.20:03 hrs (UTC) were not implicating any technical or operational failure, due to the absence of any corresponding evidence. Furthermore, the report said that "damage observed on the forward fuselage and cockpit section of the aircraft appears to indicate that there were impacts from a large number of high-energy objects from outside the aircraft". According to the investigators, this damage likely led to a loss of structural integrity that caused an in-flight break-up first of the forward parts of the aircraft and then the remainder with expansive geographic spread of the aircraft's pieces.

On 9 September 2014, the preliminary accident report was released by the Dutch Safety Board (DSB).[2][224]:16

Dutch Safety Board preliminary report

In February and April 2015 new remains were found on the site.[222][223] By this time only 2 victims, both Dutch citizens, out of 298 were unidentified.[223]

By 5 December, the Dutch-led forensic team had identified the bodies of 292 out of 298 victims of the crash.[221]

On 9 October a spokesman for the Dutch national prosecutor's office stated that one victim had been found with an oxygen mask around his neck; a forensic investigation of the mask for fingerprints, saliva and DNA did not produce any results and it is therefore not known how or when that mask got around the neck of the victim.[27]:99

On 22 August the bodies of 20 Malaysians (of 43 killed in the incident) arrived in Malaysia.[219] The government announced a National Mourning Day, with a ceremony broadcast live on radio and television.[220]

On 6 August the Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced that the recovery operation would be temporarily halted due to an upsurge in fighting around the crash site threatening the safety of crash investigators and recovery specialists, and that all international investigators and humanitarian forces (approximately 500 Australians and 80 Dutch/Malaysians) would leave the country leaving behind a small communications and liaison team.[218] Three areas of the crash site remained unsearched.

On 1 August it was announced that a search and recovery mission, including about 80 forensic police specialists from the Netherlands, Malaysia and Australia, and led by Colonel Cornelis Kuijs of the Royal Marechaussee, would use drones, sniffer dogs, divers and satellite mapping to search for missing body parts at the crash site.[216][217] Australian officials had believed that as many as 80 bodies were still at the site,[157] but after some days of searching the international team had "found remains of only a few victims" and concluded that "the recovery effort undertaken by local authorities immediately after the crash was more thorough than initially thought."[79]

Dutch authorities stated on 23 July that they found 200 bodies on the train when it arrived at Kharkhiv, leaving almost 100 unaccounted for.[213] Two Dutch and one Australian aircraft flew the first bodies out of Kharviv later that day. The aircraft landed at Eindhoven Airport just before 16:00 local time.[214] The day after, another 74 bodies arrived.[215]

It was reported on 21 July that with 282 bodies and 87 body fragments found, there were still 16 bodies missing.[207] An agreement had been reached that the Netherlands would co-ordinate the identification effort. All remains were moved to the Netherlands with Dutch air force C-130 and Australian C-17 transport planes.[208][209] A train carrying the bodies arrived at the Malyshev Factory, Kharkiv on 22 July,[210] and the first remains were flown to Eindhoven on 23 July.[211] The investigation is being conducted at the Netherlands Army medical regiment training facility in Hilversum by an international team.[212] The UK Metropolitan Police sent specialist officers to assist with the recovery, identification and repatriation of those who died.[103]

Convoy of 40 hearses heading to Hilversum, while other traffic stopped

On 21 July, pro-Russian rebels allowed Dutch investigators to examine the bodies. By this time, according to Ukrainian officials 272 bodies had been recovered.[204] Remains left Torez on a train on the evening of 21 July, en route to Kharkiv to be flown to the Netherlands for identification.[205] On the same day, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak announced that the Malaysian government had reached a tentative agreement to retrieve the remains of the Malaysians who died in the crash, following any necessary forensic work.[206]

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte complained about the lack of respect shown to the personal belongings of the dead which were reportedly looted. He initially announced his disgust about the handling of the bodies that were reportedly being "dragged around" and "thrown", but later stated they had been handled with more care than originally estimated.[201][202] On 20 July, Ukrainian emergency workers, observed by armed separatists, began loading the remains of the passengers of MH17 into refrigerated railway wagons for transport and identification.[203]

Bodies were observed being moved, placed in body bags, and loaded on to lorries.[198][199][200]

A Ukraine Foreign Ministry representative said that the bodies found at the crash site would be taken to Kharkiv for identification, 270 kilometres (170 mi) to the north. By the day after the crash, 181 of the 298 bodies had been found.[197]

First arrival of bodies at Eindhoven Airport

Recovery of bodies

In July 2015 News Corp Australia published the transcript of a 17-minute video recorded at the scene shortly after the crash. The transcript and published segments of the video indicate that Russian-backed rebels arrive at the crash site in the expectation of finding the wreckage of a military aircraft and for the purpose of locating crew that parachuted from the aircraft.[81]

Bild said that the satellite image from Russia was fake.[194] According to an analysis by Bellingcat, Russia's satellite images are from June and show signs of editing.[195][196]

In May 2015 Novaya Gazeta published a report by "a group of Russian military engineers" that came to a conclusion that the airplane was shot down by a "Buk-M1" launcher with 9M38M1 missile. Authors also analysed the visible impact traces on the surface of the airplane and suggested that the missile couldn't have been fired from Snizhne, but it was instead fired from Zaroshchenskoe (Ukrainian: Зарощенське) and claimed that a Ukrainian anti-air unit was located there at that time.[186] In June 2015 the report was the subject of a press conference and was attributed to Mikhail Malisevskiy, chief engineer at Moscow-headquartered Almaz-Antey, the BUK missile manufacturer.[187] The Security Service of Ukraine said that there were inaccuracies in this version, and called the part of the report a fake.[188] Russian military expert Vadim Lukashevich argued on TV Rain that the spatial orientation of the rocket at the moment of explosion does not exclude the possibility that it was launched from Snizhne, as the authors of the report claimed. Lukashevich also noted that the report admitted a "Buk" missile as the cause of the crash, debunking all the previous versions of the crash (Su-25 etc.) populated in Russian media.[189] Also Ukrainska Pravda questioned claims about Ukrainian anti-air unit and stated that Zaroshchenskoe was under control of pro-Russian forces on the day of shootdown.[190] Novaya Gazeta published a long analysis by Mark Solonin, also denying the Almaz-Antey version,[191] and interviewed inhabitants of Zaroshchenskoe who denied the claims about Ukrainian forces and any "Buk" launchers being present in the village at that time.[192][193]

Later in March 2015, RTL Nederland reporter Jeroen Akkermans published the results of an independent analysis of the metal fragments his team found at the crash site in the remains of the airplane's hull. Forensic investigation suggested that these fragments, some of them having cast-on serial numbers with Cyryllic letters, may be parts of the Buk missile that hit the airplane.[183][184] DSB has accepted the fragments as evidence but stated "it is important that it be irrefutably demonstrated that there is a relationship between any material and the aeroplane that crashed".[185]

In March 2015 Reuters published first-hand statements from a number of named witnesses from Chervonyi Zhovten (Ukrainian: Червоний Жовтень), a village close to Torez and Snizhne, who saw the Buk rocket passing over the village when it was fired from a field around 1.5 km away. It also published a statement from a separatist fighter (only the first name was given by Reuters) who confirmed that the launcher was placed in that area on the day of the Boeing crash to prevent Ukrainian airstrikes.[182]

In January 2015 a report produced by the German investigative team CORRECT!V concluded a Buk surface-to-air missile launcher operated by the 53rd Russian Air Defence Brigade shot down MH17.[180] Large amounts of other circumstantial evidence were presented separately by various parties that supports this version, identifying specific launcher vehicle, operator name, truck transporting it and its alleged route through Russia and Ukraine.[181]

On 22 December 2014 the Dutch news service RTL Nieuws published a statement of an unnamed local resident who witnessed the shooting down of MH17, indicating that the plane was shot down by a missile from rebel territory. He took photographs of what appeared to be the vapour trail of a ground-launched missile which he passed to the SBU.[176][177] On 24 December Russia's state-operated domestic news agency RIA Novosti quoted the leader of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic, Alexander Zakharchenko, saying he saw MH17 shot out of the sky by two Ukrainian jets.[178][179]

On 8 October 2014 the president of the German Federal Intelligence Service (BND) gave a presentation about MH17 to a German parliamentary committee overseeing intelligence activities. According to Der Spiegel, the report contained a detailed analysis which concluded that pro-Russian separatists had used a captured Ukrainian Buk system to shoot down Flight MH17. The report also noted that "Russian claims the missile had been fired by Ukrainian soldiers and that a Ukrainian fighter jet had been flying close to the passenger jet were false" and that Ukraine had published manipulated photographs.[18][175] The Attorney General of Germany opened an investigation against unknown persons due to a suspected war crime.[19]

On 8 September 2014, the BBC released new material by John Sweeney who cited three civilian witnesses from Donbass who saw the Buk launcher in the rebel-controlled territory on the day when MH17 crashed. Two witnesses said the crew of the launcher and a military vehicle escorting it did not have local accents and spoke with Muscovite accents.[15] On the same day Ignat Ostanin, a Russian journalist, published an analysis of photos and films of Buk units moving in Russia and Ukraine in the days before and after the MH17 crash. According to Ostanin, the markings on the specific launcher suspected of being used to shoot MH17, together with the number plates of the large goods vehicle that carried the launcher, suggested that it belonged to the 53rd Kursk Brigade of Russian anti-aircraft defence troops.[173][174]

On 28 July 2014, Ukrainian security official Andriy Lysenko announced, at a press conference, that black box recorder analysis had revealed that the aircraft had been brought down by shrapnel that caused "massive explosive decompression." Dutch officials were reported to be "stunned" by what they saw as a "premature announcement" and said that they had not provided this information.[172]

In an interview with Reuters on 23 July 2014, Alexander Khodakovsky, the commander of the pro-Russian Vostok Battalion, acknowledged that the separatists had an anti-aircraft missile of the type the Americans have said was used to shoot down the aircraft, and said that it could have been sent back to Russia to remove proof of its presence;[167][168][169] he later retracted his comments, saying that he had been misquoted and stating that rebels never had a Buk.[170] In November 2014 he repeated that the separatists had a Buk launcher at the time, but stated that the vehicle, under control of fighters from Luhansk, had still been on its way to Donetsk when MH17 crashed. It was then retreated to avoid being blamed.[171]

On 21 July 2014, the Russian Ministry of Defence held a press conference and said that while the Boeing 777 was crashing, a Ukrainian Su-25 ground-attack aircraft approached to within 3 to 5 kilometres (1.9 to 3.1 mi) of the Malaysian airliner. The MoD also stated that satellite photographs showed that the Ukrainian army moved a Buk SAM battery to the area close to the territory controlled by the rebels on the morning of 17 July, hours before the crash. They said the installation was then moved away again by 18 July.[163][164] Promoted by Russian media, the version that a Su-25 could have downed Boeing with an air-to-air missile was dismissed by chief designer of the airplane Vladimir Babak.[165] In 2015 Bellingcat purchased satellite photos from the same area and time as mentioned by MoD and demonstrated that MoD actually used older photos (May and June 2014) in their presentation that were also edited to make a Ukrainian "Buk" launcher appear like it was removed after the attack.[166] In the report published by the Dutch Safety Board, an air-to-air missile strike was ruled out.[7]

The Russian Ministry of Defence has maintained that American claims of separatist responsibility were "unfounded", and said that the American intelligence agencies have not released any of the data on which they based their conclusions.[160] According to the Russian military, in what the New York Magazine called "Russia's Conspiracy Theory", MH17 was shot down by the Ukrainians, using either a surface-to-air missile or a fighter plane.[161][162]

An unnamed American intelligence official stated that Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 may have been shot down in error by pro-Russian separatists, citing evidence that separatists launched a SA-11 surface-to-air missile that blew up the Malaysian airliner. They said it was possible the rebel was a former member of the Armed Forces of Ukraine who had defected to the pro-Russian separatists.[5] The official dismissed Russian allegations that MH17 took evasive action and said the claim that the Ukrainian government had shot down MH17 was not realistic, as Kiev had no such missile systems in that area, which was rebel-controlled.[129] American intelligence officials also said that Russia was attempting to disguise the flow of weaponry it was delivering to the rebels by sending older weapons that matched Ukraine's inventory.[6] The British Foreign Office stated that it was "highly likely" that the missile was fired from an area controlled by Russian-backed separatists.[159]

American officials said that satellite data from infrared sensors detected the explosion of flight MH17.[154] American intelligence agencies said that analysis of the launch plume and trajectory suggested the missile was fired from an area near Torez and Snizhne.[53] Satellites are also likely to have registered the heat signature of the launch of the missile and the activation of the missile launcher tracking radar.[127] The Telegraph, a British paper, said: "The Telegraph‍ '​s own inquiries suggest the missile – an SA-11 from a Buk mobile rocket launcher – was possibly fired from a cornfield about 19 kilometres (12 mi) to the south of the epicentre of the crash site."[128] Other sources suggest the missile was launched from the separatist-controlled town of Chernukhino.[155] A number of other media outlets including The Guardian, The Washington Post and the Sydney Morning Herald have reported that the aeroplane is believed to have been downed by a rebel-fired missile.[156][157][158]

On 22 July 2014, a soldier revealed to an Italian reporter that fellow separatists had told his unit the aircraft had been shot down under the assumption that it was Ukrainian.[152] This information was verified and confirmed on the same day by a German newspaper.[153] Unnamed American intelligence officials stated that sensors that traced the path of the missile, shrapnel patterns in the wreckage, voice print analysis of separatists' conversations in which they claimed credit for the strike, and photos and other data from social media sites all indicated that Russian-backed separatists had fired the missile.[6]

Journalists from the Associated Press in Snizhne, Ukraine reported seeing a Buk M-1 enter the town operated by a man "with unfamiliar fatigues and a distinctive Russian accent" escorted by two civilian vehicles, which then moved off in the direction where the shootdown later occurred. According to Ukrainian counterterrorism chief, Vitaly Nayda, after downing the plane under separatist direction, the launcher's Russian crew quickly moved it back across the border into Russia.[62]

On 19 July 2014, Vitaly Nayda, the chief of the Counter Intelligence Department of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), told a news conference, "We have compelling evidence that this terrorist act was committed with the help of the Russian Federation. We know clearly that the crew of this system were Russian citizens."[139][140][141] He cited what he said were recorded conversations in which separatists expressed satisfaction to Russian intelligence agents that they brought down an aeroplane.[142][143] While one of the involved persons acknowledged that these conversations took place, the separatists denied that they were related to the crash of MH17 and blamed the Ukrainian government for shooting it down.[144][145][146][147] According to Nayda, a Buk launcher used in the shootdown was moved back into Russia the night after the attack.[62] The SBU released another recording, which they said was of pro-Russian-separatist leader Igor Bezler being told of an approaching aircraft two minutes before MH17 was shot down. Bezler said the recording was real, but referred to a different incident.[148] The head of the SBU, Valentyn Nalyvaichenko, later concluded that rebels intended to shoot down a Russian airliner in a false flag operation to give Russia a pretext to invade Ukraine, but shot down MH17 by mistake.[149][150][151]

Witnesses in Torez reported sightings on the day of the incident of what appeared to be a Buk missile launcher,[138] and AP journalists reported sightings of a Buk system in separatist controlled Snizhne.[62] The witness reports also backed up photographs and videos which had been posted online, of the Buk launcher in rebel held territory.[138]

Shortly after the crash, Igor Girkin, leader of the Donbass separatists, was reported to have posted on social media network VKontakte, taking credit for downing a Ukrainian AN-26.[133][134] The separatists later recanted and denied involvement after learning that a civilian airliner had been downed, saying they did not have the equipment or training to hit a target at that altitude.[135][136][137] Russian media also reported that Alexander Borodai called one of the Moscow media managers 40 minutes after the crash, saying that "likely we shot down a civilian airline".[134]

Soon after the crash both American and Ukrainian officials said that a surface-to-air missile strike was the most likely cause,[125] and if so, then the missile was fired from a mobile Soviet-designed Buk missile system (NATO reporting name: SA-11 "Gadfly") as this is the only surface-to-air missile system in the region capable of reaching the altitude of commercial air traffic.[53][126][127][128][129][130] According to defence analyst Reed Foster (from Jane's Information Group), the contour of the aluminium and the blistering of the paint around many of the holes on the aircraft fragments indicate that small, high-velocity fragments entered the aircraft externally, a damage pattern indicative of an SA-11.[131] Ballistics specialist Stephan Fruhling of the Australian National University's Strategic and Defence Studies Centre concurs with this, explaining that since it struck the cockpit rather than an engine it was probably a radar guided, rather than heat seeking, missile equipped with a proximity fuzed warhead such as a SA-11.[132]

External audio
Pro-Russian rebels discuss the shooting down of an aircraft on YouTube Intercepted phone calls, verified with voice recognition by the National Security Agency,[122] between rebels discussing which rebel group shot down the aircraft and initial reports it was a civilian aircraft. Audio (in Russian) released by Security Service of Ukraine with English subtitles.[123][124]
  1. The plane was brought down by a warhead that detonated outside the front of the plane, causing structural damage to the front followed by mid-air breakup of the plane.[120]
  2. The warhead was carried on a type of missile used in Russian built BUK systems.[120]
  3. That the impact killed the cockpit crew, and that no evidence of any conscious action of any passenger on the plane was recorded after impact. Although it cannot be ruled out that some passengers may have been conscious during the fall. [121]
  4. Identified a large area of 320 square kilometers near Snizhne from which the missile could have been fired.[120]
  5. That considering the number of shot down aircraft, the risk assessment by all involved parties was inadequate. Ukranian air traffic control should have closed the air space, Malaysia Airlines should have chosen an alternative route, and other parties such as the International Civil Aviation Organization did not sufficiently account for risks of flying over conflict areas.[120]

The final report by the official investigation team, led by the Dutch Safety board, was presented on 13 October 2015. It concluded that

A mobile Buk surface-to-air missile launcher, similar to that concluded to have been used in the incident

Cause of crash

CT scans of MH17 victims showed "non-aircraft metal"[114] and on 19 December 2014 the Ukrainian security service said that some of the bodies contained metal fragments that indicated the plane was shot down by a surface-to-air missile.[115] Preliminary evidence from the ongoing Dutch investigation has concluded that the plane was most likely downed by a Russian unit that was probably manned by a Russian crew, though other possibilities have not yet been ruled out.[116][117] In August 2015, possible BUK missile parts were found at the crash site by a joint investigation team comprising representatives of the Netherlands, Ukraine, Malaysia, Australia, the UK, US and Russia.[118][119]

On 6 August 2014, the experts left the crash site due to concerns about their safety.[107] In mid-September they attempted to regain access to the site but did not have any success.[108][109] On 13 October a Dutch-Ukrainian team resumed the recovery work to gather personal belongings of the victims.[110] In mid-November, work was undertaken to remove part of the wreckage from the crash site. Earlier efforts by the recovery team to salvage the MH17 wreckage had been frustrated by disagreements with the local rebels.[111][112] The recovery operation took one week to complete. The debris would be transported to the Netherlands where investigators will reconstruct parts of the plane.[113]

On 30 July 2014, a Ukrainian representative said that pro-Russian rebels had mined approaches to the crash site and pulled heavy artillery around.[106]

A Malaysian team of 133 officials and experts, comprising search and recovery personnel, forensics experts, technical and medical experts arrived in Ukraine.[101] Australia sent a 45-member panel headed by former Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, who had earlier supervised the MH 370 probe.[102] The United Kingdom sent six investigators from the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) and the UK Foreign Office has sent extra consular staff to Ukraine.[103] It took until late July that the full international team could start working at the crash site,[104] under the leadership of the Dutch Ministry of Defence.[105]

Since 23 July 2014 an international investigation team has been conducting an off-site examination to determine why the aircraft crashed.[2] In agreement with the Ukrainian government, the Netherlands are leading this investigation.[94][95] The investigation team consists of 24 investigators with members from Ukraine, Malaysia, Australia, Germany, the United States, the United Kingdom and Russia.[96] In addition to the international accident investigation, the selection of the flight route will also be independently investigated by the Dutch Safety Board (DSB).[97] The National Bureau of Air Accidents Investigation of Ukraine (NBAAI) had requested that the DSB participate in the international investigation; the DSB received formal notice of the accident from the NBAAI on 18 July.[98] The NBAAI, which led an international off- and on-site investigation during the first days after the crash,[99] delegated the investigation to the DSB because of the large number of Dutch passengers and the fact that the flight originated in Amsterdam.[100]

On 18 July 2014, the flight data recorder and the cockpit voice recorder had been recovered by separatists,[93] and three days later were handed over to Malaysian officials in Donetsk.[27]:44 The CVR was damaged but there was no evidence that data had been tampered with.[27]:45

Dutch and Australian police at the crash site on 3 August 2014

On the day of the crash, a meeting was convened of the Trilateral Contact Group (consisting of the [91] During the first two days of investigation, the militants prevented the OSCE and the workers of Ukrainian Emergencies Ministry from freely working at the crash site. Andre Purgin, a leader of the Donetsk People's Republic, declared later that "we will guarantee the safety of international experts on the scene as soon as Kiev concludes a ceasefire agreement".[92]

Initial attempts

Two parallel investigations are led by the Dutch. One is into the cause of the crash, and a second investigation is a criminal inquiry.[86] The technical report was released on 13 October 2015,[87] while the criminal investigation could extend into 2016.[88] According to the Convention on International Civil Aviation, the country in which an aviation incident occurs is responsible for the investigation, but that country may delegate the investigation to another state, as Ukraine has delegated the leadership of both investigations to the Netherlands.[89] In March 2015 the international investigation team led by the Dutch police issued a call for witnesses, particularly with respect to the movement of a Buk launcher from Sjevernyi near the Russian border through or near Luhansk to Donetsk on a Volvo truck.[90]


On 23 July 2014, two Ukrainian military jets were hit by missiles at the altitude of 17,000 feet (5,200 m) close to the area of the MH17 crash. According to the Ukrainian Security Council, preliminary information indicated that the missiles came from Russia.[85]

Shortly after the crash, it was announced that Malaysia Airlines would retire flight number MH17 and change the Amsterdam–Kuala Lumpur route to flight number MH19 beginning on 25 July 2014.[82][83] On 18 July 2014, shares in Malaysia Airlines dropped by nearly 16%.[84]

It was suggested that credit and debit cards may have been looted from the bodies of the victims, and the Dutch Banking Association said it would take "preventative measures" against any possible fraud.[76] There were also accusations that other possessions had been removed and that evidence at the crash site had been destroyed.[77][78] Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte acknowledged on 6 August that early reports of chaos and criminality around the site may have been exaggerated.[79] One eye-witness observed that valuable items like shoes and bottles of alcohol were untouched in the wreckage,[80] while a video published by News Corp Australia in July 2015 recorded at the scene shortly after the crash shows militants described as "Russian-backed rebels" arriving and ransacking the wreckage.[81]

Around 90 minutes after the incident, Ukraine closed all routes in Eastern Ukrainian airspace, at all altitudes.[2][74] The incident dramatically heightened fears about airliner shootdowns,[75] leading to a number of airlines announcing they would avoid overflying conflict zones.


The aircraft crashed outside Hrabove, near Torez in eastern Ukraine's Donetsk Oblast, with debris spread over a 50 square kilometres (19 sq mi) area to the southwest of Hrabove.[27]:53 The fireball on impact is believed to have been captured on video.[70] Photographs from the site of the crash show scattered pieces of broken fuselage and engine parts, bodies, and passports.[71] Some of the wreckage fell close to houses.[72] Dozens of bodies fell into crop fields, and some fell into houses.[73]

The Dutch Safety Board reported a last flight data recording at 13:20 UTC, located west of the urban-type settlement Rozsypne, heading 115° at 494 knots (915 km/h).[2] Three other commercial aircraft were in the same area when the Malaysian plane crashed, including a Singapore Airlines Boeing 777 en route from Copenhagen to Singapore, and Air India Flight 113, a Boeing 787, en route from Delhi to Birmingham. The closest aircraft was 33 kilometres (21 mi) away.[69]:41

According to the original flight plan, MH17 was to fly over Ukraine at flight level 330 (33,000 feet or 10,060 metres) and then change to FL 350 around Dnipropetrovsk. When it reached the area as planned, at 12:53 UTC Dnipropetrovsk Air Control (Dnipro Control) asked MH17 if they could climb to FL 350 as planned, and also to avoid a potential separation conflict with another flight, Singapore Airlines Flight 351, also at FL 330. The crew asked to remain at FL 330 and the air control approved this request, moving the other flight to FL 350. At 13:00 UTC the crew asked for diversion of 20 nautical miles (37 km) to the left (north) due to weather conditions. This request was also approved by Dnipro Control. The crew then asked if they could climb to FL 340, which was rejected as this flight level was not available at that time, and MH17 remained at FL 330. At 13:19 UTC Dnipro Control noticed that the flight was 3.6 nautical miles (6.7 km) north from the centerline of approved track and instructed MH17 to return to the track. At 13:19 UTC Dnipro Control contacted Russian air control in Rostov-on-Don (RND) over telephone and requested clearance for transferring the flight to Russian air control. After obtaining the permission, Dnipro Control attempted to contact MH17 and pass them the details of Rostov-on-Don track at 13:20 UTC. After MH17 did not respond to several calls, Dnipro Control contacted RND again to check if they could see the Boeing on their radar. RND confirmed that the plane had disappeared.[2]

On Thursday, 17 July 2014, Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 departed from Amsterdam Airport Schiphol Gate G03 at 12:13 CEST (10:13 UTC)[27]:23 and was due to arrive at Kuala Lumpur International Airport at 06:00, Friday 18 July MYT (22:00, 17 July UTC).

Routes of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 and Singapore Airlines Flight 351, including airspace restrictions
Route of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17


The airspace above Donetsk Oblast was closed by Ukraine below 26,000 feet (7,900 m) on 5 June 2014 and, on 14 July, below 32,000 feet (9,800 m).[27]:179–180 The route in Russian airspace that MH17 would have taken was closed below 32,000 feet (9,800 m) by Russian air control a few hours before the airliner took off.[66] As with other countries Ukraine receives overflight fees for every commercial aircraft that flies through their borders. This may have contributed to the continued availability of civilian flight paths through the conflict zone.[67][68]

On 15 July 2014, following his visit to Kiev, Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs Radosław Sikorski warned about the dangers posed by the continued Russian military support for pro-Russian separatists, especially ground-to-air missiles.[60] On 17 July, an Associated Press journalist saw a Buk launcher in Snizhne, a town in Donetsk Oblast that is 16 kilometres (10 mi) southeast of the crash site. The reporter also saw seven separatist tanks at a petrol station near the town.[61] Associated Press journalists reported that the Buk M-1 was operated by a man "with unfamiliar fatigues and a distinctive Russian accent" escorted by two civilian vehicles.[62] The battle around Saur Mogila has been suggested as the possible context within which the missile that brought down MH17 was fired, as separatists deployed increasingly sophisticated anti-aircraft weaponry in this battle, and had brought down several Ukrainian jets in July.[63] A Ukrainian An-26 was actually scheduled to deliver paratroopers to the battle arena on 17 July and, according to Russian expert Vadim Lukashevich, the separatists "might have been waiting just for them", which also explains why they first announced that the downed plane was An-26.[64] According to the final report of the Dutch Safety Board, no An-26 was downed in Eastern Ukraine that day.[65]

On 14 July 2014, a Ukrainian Air Force An-26 transport plane flying at 6,500 m (21,300 ft) was shot down.[27]:183 Militia reportedly claimed via social media that a Buk missile launcher had been used to bring down the aircraft.[52] American officials later said evidence suggested the aeroplane had been shot down from Russian territory.[53] On 16 July, a Sukhoi Su-25 close air support aircraft was shot down. The Ukrainian government said the Russian military had shot down the aircraft with an air-to-air missile fired by a MiG-29 jet in Russia; a spokesman for the Russian defence ministry rejected that report as "absurd".[54][55] According to the Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf, the Ukrainian government also warned the government of Netherlands and other European countries about dangers in flying over the East Ukraine three days prior to the tragedy[56][57] due to an incident with downing of another transport aeroplane (AN-26) by militants on 14 July 2014.[58][59]

Since the start of the conflict, several Ukrainian Air Force aeroplanes have been downed. On 14 June, an Air Force Ilyushin Il-76 aircraft was shot down on approach to Luhansk International Airport; all 49 people on board died.[27]:183 On 29 June, Russian news agencies reported (with old photos) that insurgents had gained access to a Buk missile system after having taken control of a Ukrainian air defence base (possibly the former location of the 156th Anti-Aircraft Rocket Regiment [156 zrp] of the Ukrainian Air Force).[48][49][50] On the same day, the Donetsk People's Republic claimed possession of such a system in a since-deleted tweet.[49][51]

[47] and Malaysia Airlines being the most active carriers.Lufthansa, Ukraine International Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Aeroflot region in the seven days until the Boeing 777 was shot down, with Donetsk 37 airlines continued overflying eastern Ukraine and about 900 flights crossed the [46][45] issued restrictions on flights over Crimea, to the south of MH17's route, and advised airlines flying over some other parts of Ukraine to "exercise extreme caution". This warning did not include the MH17 crash region.Federal Aviation Administration The American [44] A few airlines started to avoid eastern Ukrainian airspace in early March in the wake of the


The flight had two captains, Wan Amran Wan Hussin of Kuala Kangsar and Eugene Choo Jin Leong (Chinese: 朱仁隆; pinyin: Zhū Rénlóng[40]) of Seremban, and two copilots, Ahmad Hakimi Hanapi and Muhd Firdaus Abdul Rahim.[41]

At least twenty family groups were on board the aircraft, and eighty of the passengers were under the age of 18.[38][39]

[37].Shuba Jay and Malaysian actress [36],Liam Davison Australian author [35],Willem Witteveen Also on board were Dutch Senator [34] Many initial reports had erroneously indicated that around 100 delegates to the conference were aboard, but this was later revised to just six.[33]

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