A DSB graphic of the missile blast that destroyed MH17
A DSB graphic of the missile blast that destroyed MH17

The interim report of the criminal investigation into the MH17 atrocity in disputed Ukraine airspace has identified a likely launch site for the BUK missile that killed all 298 people on board the Malaysia Airline flight on July 17, 2014 but not any of those responsible for its being fired.

The report which can be found here, represents some progress in identifying the launch from “an agricultural field near Pervomaiskyi  which, at the time, was controlled by pro-Russian fighters” and refers to 100 persons of interest in further investigations.

However those who have followed the minute details of the earlier Dutch Safety Board inquiry into the jet’s being shot down might be disappointed in a lack of progress, given the rhetoric that atrocity generated, and its categorical identification last year of the missile that was used.

Unlike the DSB report, the version made available in English on the Joint Investigation Team website doesn’t pay attention to the vexed questions of airline culpability in allowing MH17 to use airspace in which 16 aircraft had recently been shot down by missile, nor its stupidity in believing flight at an altitude of 32,000 feet rendered it safe from a missile strike which it implicitly recognised existed in the area.

The Boeing 777-200ER operating MH17 on a flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur could not have stayed above 32,000 feet had it experienced a cabin depressurisation or loss of power in one of its two engines.

Both possibilities are normal flight planning contingencies for reputable airlines mindful of the everyday risks to their passengers’ safety that are recognised in their operating procedures. Or should be.

The DSB dealt with these issues, but avoided publicising them in its light and sound media event to launch that report. They are referenced in this earlier report in Plane Talking.

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