Aviation

MH17 probe finds ‘possible’ missile parts

AFP

Investigators probing the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 say they’ve found fragments “probably” from a Russian-made BUK missile at the crash site in eastern Ukraine.

International and Dutch investigators are examining seven “considerable fragments of some size … probably from a BUK (surface-to-air) missile system,” said Dutch public prosecutor Fred Westerbeke on Tuesday.

A joint statement from prosecutors and the Dutch Safety Board (OVV) said the fragments were “secured during a previous recovery mission (at the crash site) in eastern Ukraine and are in possession of the criminal investigation team and the Dutch Safety Board.”

Flight MH17 was shot down on July 17 last year, during heavy fighting between Ukrainian government forces and pro-Russian separatists. All 298 passengers and crew were killed, including 38 who called Australia home.

Ukraine and many in the West have accused pro-Russian rebels of shooting down the plane, saying they may have used a BUK missile supplied by Russia.

Russia and the rebels deny any responsibility and point the finger at Ukraine’s military.

Investigators said it was not yet clear whether the apparent missile pieces found were related to the attack.

“It’s too early to say that the fragments we found were, for instance, from the BUK rocket that possibly shot down MH17,” prosecutor Westerbeke told state broadcaster NOS.

But the investigation was “really getting closer” to finding out who was behind the attack, he said.

The statement from the OVV and the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) said the fragments “can possibly provide more information about who was involved in the crash of MH17.”

The Joint Investigation Team carrying out the criminal probe has representatives from the Netherlands, Ukraine, Australia, Malaysia and Belgium – the countries worst affected by the crash.

“The JIT will internationally enlist the help of experts, among others forensic specialists and weapon-experts,” it said.

Dennis Schouten, deputy head of the association of MH17 victims’ relatives, told AFP that the announcement was “in line with expectations.”

“This was already one of the most realistic scenarios,” he said.

Dutch authorities completed recovery of debris and bodies from the crash site in April this year, having previously been hindered by ongoing fighting.

Both the Russian and Ukrainian militaries have BUK missiles in their arsenal, and the system’s Russian manufacturer said in June that based on publicly available photographs of the wreckage the plane was likely shot down by one of its missiles.

The Boeing 777 was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur when it was blown out of the sky.

Two-thirds of the victims were Dutch, many of them children starting their summer holidays.

International air investigators from the Netherlands, Ukraine, Malaysia, Australia, Britain, the United States and Russia are meeting in The Hague to discuss a draft report from the Dutch Safety Board into what caused the crash.

Russia last month vetoed a bid at the United Nations Security Council to set up an international tribunal to try those behind the downing of the aircraft.

Countries involved in that bid are now looking at other means to carry out a prosecution, although no suspects have yet been publicly identified.

The OVV is to release its final report into what, but not who, downed the aircraft in October.

SEE WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

Leave a Reply

Travel Agents

Helloworld CEO pleased with investor feedback, as company completes $50m equity raising

Andrew Burnes has a bit of pep back in his step thanks to this latest vote of confidence from Helloworld’s investors.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

More than 100 jobs to go at Brisbane Airport

The cuts will account for, what would be by the end of 2020, a quarter of the company’s workforce.

Share

CommentComments

Hotels

Hotel Wrap: Industry bodies back resilience of Victorian hoteliers, Lizard Island to reopen + MORE

Looking for some news to help you cure your winter blues? Sit back and let this week’s Hotel Wrap warm your bones.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Virgin Atlantic files for bankruptcy protection

Sir Richard Branson has reportedly been spotted buying Panadol in bulk to cope with the massive headache caused by Virgin’s UK-based airline.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Returning NSW residents from Victoria to go into hotel quarantine from Friday

Gladys has upped the strictness scale for returning NSW travellers, who will have to complete hotel quarantine at their own expense from Friday.

Share

CommentComments

Wholesalers

Crooked Compass gives agents opportunity to consult with the master

Have you been dreaming about becoming best friends with travel guru Lisa Pagotto? Now’s your opportunity to make an impression.

Share

CommentComments

Technology

Travelport launches new tool for airline health and safety

Travelport has launched a nifty new feature to make airline health and safety measures more accessible for agents.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

STUDY: Aussies bursting for Pacific ‘bubble’ and domestic nature escapes

We creeped your clients’ search history and found out where they want to travel this year. Just kidding! An online travel platform did all the work for us.

Share

CommentComments

Cruise

Phew! Cruise line dodges potential COVID-19 outbreak after passenger tests positive

The poor old cruise industry was due for some positive news following the recent COVID-19 cases on board other cruise lines. Here it is.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Former Tourism Australia country manager resurfaces at Visit Sunshine Coast

Jenny Aitken hasn’t wasted much time finding a new role since her recent exit from Tourism Australia, unless you count her daytime Netflix bingeing.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Tigerair scratched, thousands of jobs cut and a simplified fleet: Virgin Australia’s six-point blueprint for success

Have you been wondering what the hell Virgin and its future owner have been up to as the administration process nears the finish line? All is revealed here.

Share

CommentComments

Hotels

Gun-toting hotel guest fires ‘warning shots’ after telling guests off for not social distancing

The coronavirus pandemic has unearthed some absolute crazies. On one end of the spectrum, you have Bunnings Karen; on the other end, you have this guy.

Share

CommentComments