CHRIS UHLMANN: Malaysia Airlines flight 17 crashed in eastern
Ukraine in mid-July after being hit by multiple high-speed
Releasing an interim report into the disaster that killed 298 people, officials from the Dutch Safety Board said their investigation found no evidence of technical or human error.
Their report says the plane "broke up in the air...probably as the result of structural damage caused by a large number of high-velocity objects that penetrated the aircraft from outside".
Europe correspondent Philip Williams is in the Hague.
Phil, what were the main findings?
PHILIP WILLIAMS: Well, it's quite interesting because there was a lot of speculation about what the black boxes would reveal about the flight data and the conversation being held in the cockpit.
What they reveal is that this was a normal flight. There was nothing that spelled disaster impending. There were no conversations in the cockpit that sounded like there was any sort of alarm. And then suddenly it just disappeared. It disappeared off the radar without any warning whatsoever and that's when all the data systems just simply stopped.
The other aspect of it is that they have decided in this report that damage pattern to the aircraft fuselage and the cockpit is consistent with what you'd expect from a large number of high energy objects that penetrated the aircraft from outside. Now I'm quoting there.
In other words, it's quite consistent with a missile strike. They won't use that word. They're not saying they believe it's a missile, but of course lots of people assume it is.
CHRIS UHLMANN: So does this report tell us who might be responsible for that?
PHILIP WILLIAMS: Well, no. There's no finger pointing whatsoever and that's quite deliberate. We're told that that will be done by prosecutors. They will decide who the guilty partners are and they will then pursue those people.
But I spoke to the chairman of the Dutch Safety Board, Tjibbe Joustra, who had this to say about the process:
TJIBBE JOUSTRA: We are not for blame or liability. We are for the cause of what has happened. So the question who has done something is a question we never answer. We explain why it has happened and how it has happened, but not the persons involved.
CHRIS UHLMANN: That's chair of the Dutch Safety Board Tjibbe Joustra.
And, Phil, how have the families reacted to this report?
PHILIP WILLIAMS: Well, it fills in some of the gaps for them. Not a lot, because they really want the people responsible held responsible and it doesn't answer those questions.
But I guess one of the key elements of it is that it does show that there was no sense that there was a problem, that there was a risk; that it all happened very quickly.
Now, I spoke to Silene Fredericks, whose son Bryce and his girlfriend Daisy were killed, and here's what she said about that report.
SILENE FREDERICKS: For me the most important thing is that it only took...seconds, so they didn't have to suffer. That's for me the only thing that really matters.
PHILIP WILLIAMS: What, as parents, what else would you like to know?
SILENE FREDERICKS: I would like to know why. Was it on purpose that they shot down a passenger flight or was it meant to be Ukrainian flight or maybe a military plane? I don't know.
I'd like to know. And of course we'd like to know who did it, who's responsible. I think we all know that's Mr Putin because it's his separatist group, they want to be Russian again.