Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 timeline of events
A Dutch-led criminal investigation into the 2014 downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 said Wednesday investigators have solid evidence the jet was shot down by a Buk missile that was moved into eastern Ukraine from Russia.
Wilbert Paulissen, head of the Central Crime Investigation department of the Dutch National Police, said communications intercepts showed that pro-Moscow rebels had called for deployment of the mobile surface-to-air weapon, and reported its arrival in rebel-controlled areas of eastern Ukraine.
Here’s a look at key dates in the downing of the jet.
July 17, 2014: Flight MH17 was en route to Kuala Lumpur from Amsterdam and was at an altitude of 33,000 feet when air traffic controllers lost contact with the flight over eastern Ukraine.
Wreckage was found near the Russian border in an area held by pro-Russian separatist rebels.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko called the downing a “terrorist attack” and pro-Russian separatists are accused of shooting down the plane with a surface-to-air missile.
WATCH BELOW: Malaysia’s Inspector General of Police told a news conference on Wednesday that his country was ‘wounded to the core’ when MH17 went down.
July 17, 2014: U.S. President Barack Obama said the missile came from pro-Russian separatists’ territory while Russian President Vladimir Putin said Ukraine was responsible for the unrest in its Russian-speaking eastern regions but stopped short of accusing Ukraine of shooting the plane down.
July 19, 2014: Ukraine accuses Russia of helping rebels destroy evidence at the crash site, an act the rebels denied doing.
An emergency meeting of the UN Security Council was called and the U.S. pointed blame at the separatists, saying Washington believes the jetliner likely was downed by an SA-11 missile and “we cannot rule out technical assistance from Russian personnel.”
July 20, 2014: Rebels move the bodies of the crash victims to a rebel-held town. The rebels had been strictly limiting the movements of international monitors and journalists at the crash site.
July 21, 2014: Rebels hand over the plane’s black boxes to Malaysian experts.
July 28, 2014: Ukraine says the black box data recorders from Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 show the airliner was destroyed by a massive explosive decompression caused by shrapnel from a missile.
Sept. 9, 2014: A preliminary report released from The Hague said the jet was likely struck by multiple “high-energy objects from outside the aircraft,” causing it to break up over eastern Ukraine. The report by the Dutch Safety Board stopped short of saying the Boeing 777 was shot down by a missile, but its findings appeared to point to that conclusion. It also did not say who might have been responsible.
Oct. 13, 2015: A final report released by Dutch investigators confirmed a missile launched from rebel-held Ukraine smashed into flight MH17. The investigators said that the Buk missile that downed the plane exploded less than a metre away from the cockpit killing the two pilots inside in an instant and breaking off the front of the plane. While some of the passengers may have been conscious in the up to 90 seconds it took for the plane to hit the ground, they probably were not fully aware of what was happening.
The tragedy that killed all 298 people aboard the flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur wouldn’t have happened if the airspace of eastern Ukraine had been closed to passenger planes as fighting raged below, the Dutch Safety Board added.
The Associated Press contributed to this report
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