International investigators say Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot down last year by a Russian-made missile.
The airplane crashed in eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014. All 298 passengers and crew were killed.
Dutch officials announced the investigation findings Tuesday in the Dutch capital, The Hague.
The Dutch Safety Board led the investigation. Its chairman, Tjibbe Joustra, spoke to family members and media. He said the plane was hit by pieces from a missile explosion. He said the missile was fired from the ground. He also said the plane broke apart while still in the air.
He said Ukraine was responsible for not closing its airspace. Russian-backed rebels and Ukrainian forces were fighting below the flight path.
"Nobody considered the possibility that civil aircraft at cruising altitude was at risk," he said.
Mr. Joustra said nations in armed conflict should put more effort into the safety of their airspace. He said flight operators should be transparent about the flight path they choose.
The majority of passengers were Dutch. But citizens of Australia, Belgium, Malaysia and Ukraine were also on board. Representatives from those countries were part of the investigation. The plane was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.
The investigators did not assign blame for the crash. Western nations have accused Russia-backed rebels of mistaking the plane for a military aircraft and shooting it down.
Russia has denied responsibility. The government’s missile manufacturer also investigated the incident. It says the missile was an old model no longer used by the Russian military. It also says the missile was launched from an area under Ukrainian government control.
I’m Caty Weaver.
Caty Weaver wrote this story. Kathleen Struck was the editor.
*This report mistakenly identifies The Hague as the capital of The Netherlands. While the city is, in fact, the home of the Dutch government, the capital is Amsterdam.
Words in This Story
chairman - n. a person who is in charge of a company or organization
cruising altitude – n. the height in the sky at which an airplane stays for most of a flight
transparent – adj. honest and open: not secretive
on board – prepositional phrase in or on a train, boat, plane etc.
assign – v. to say that someone has (something, such as blame or responsibility)