It was indeed a missile that caused the death of the 298 occupants of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over the Ukraine on 17 July 2014. After 15 months of investigation, the investigative office of the Dutch Safety Board (OVV) has just released its conclusions.
The analysis of the black boxes and the various pieces of the Boeing 777, aided in putting together the scenario of the catastrophe. At 1:20 pm, a Russian-made Buk ground-to-air missile was launched; fragments recovered from the area of the crash attest to that fact. At a speed of 2,200 mph (3,500 km/h), the missile did not take long to reach its target, and its warhead detonated to the left side and above the cockpit. 800 pieces of shrapnel penetrated the fuselage. The aircraft then broke up and disintegrated leaving no chance of survival for the occupants.
These fragments of the missile were found by the Dutch investigators in large numbers inside the front part of the fuselage, and also the bodies of the three crew members who were in the cockpit at the time of the explosion.
Even though the investigation report states with certainty the cause of the accident, and the probable area of 125 square miles (320 km2) inside a region controlled by pro-Russian rebels from where the missile was fired, it goes no further in determining who the authors were. Both Kiev and Moscow reject all responsibility. An international commission comprised of lawyers from several countries must issue its finding on this thorny issue next year.
However, one thing is certain, the Boeing 777 was brought down most likely by mistake. The issue of overflying conflict zones by commercial aircraft is now more than ever a preoccupying matter. On the day of the accident, 160 airliners flew over eastern Ukraine.