Thursday 19 March 2015

DSB Says it Will Not Rely on Single Source for Final Conclusion on MH17

Over the past two weeks 533 relatives of 151 victims of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 visited the wreckage of the Boeing 777 which was blown out of the sky over Eastern Ukraine last July. Among them were relatives of victims from other countries. Groups of next of kin were taken around the three locations where the wreckage is located; the hangar where the investigation is taking place and the two shelters where the remaining pieces of wreckage are stored.

In the shelters, relatives were allowed touch a number of pieces of wreckage. In the hangar where the actual investigation is taking place, they viewed the wreckage from a raised platform. In addition, there was a site set up where flowers could be left.

The great majority of the next of kin were pleased to have been offered the opportunity to visit the wreckage. To actually see the pieces of wreckage is important.

Tjibbe Joustra, Safety Board Chairman

Reconstruction begins
In the past months the pieces of wreckage have been carefully checked, sorted and investigated. In February, the team of international investigators performed, among other matters, fracture investigation, investigated the failure mechanism and investigated the impact patterns. Now that the visits by the next of kin have taken place, work on the three-dimensional reconstruction will begin. The reconstruction will focus on the exterior of the cockpit and a part of the business class section. Once the reconstruction is complete the next of kin will receive an invitation to see this.

At the Air Force base in Gilze-Rijen both the Dutch Safety Board and the Public Prosecutor are investigating the wreckage. In addition to the investigation into the cause of the accident, the Safety Board is also investigating the release of passenger name lists and the decision processes regarding flight routes. The Public Prosecutor‘s criminal investigation aims to bring those responsible for the accident before a judge.

This week the Dutch Safety Board said it wants to be able to confirm its final conclusion against multiple sources and not one. The DSB was reacting to a speculative news report broadcast on Dutch TV news channel RTL in recent days.

This is a complex and time-consuming process. As a part of this, the link to the Malaysian Airlines aeroplane has to be demonstrated for each source, in part because the aeroplane crashed in an area of civil conflict.

The investigation into the cause of the accident is ongoing and is focusing on many more sources than just the pieces of shrapnel. Additional material for investigation is welcome for this, but it is important that it be irrefutably demonstrated that there is a relationship between any material and the aeroplane that crashed. The Dutch Safety Board will accept any such material and include it in the investigation.

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