MH17 was en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, carrying 298 passengers, all of whom — including the crew — were killed when the plane crashed in Ukraine's region of Donetsk on July 17, 2014. The state of occurrence (Ukraine) has delegated the investigation, announced in August 2014, to the Dutch Safety Board (DSB).
September 9, 2014
The DSB released a preliminary accident report saying that the MH17 crew had not sent any distress signals or reported any technical problems.
"The pattern of damage observed in the forward fuselage and cockpit section of the aircraft was consistent with the damage that would be expected from a large number of high-energy objects that penetrated the aircraft from the outside," said the report.
The DSB chairman Tjibbe Joustra said that the initial results of the investigation pointed towards an external cause of the MH17 crash, adding that more research was required to determine the precise cause.
November 16, 2014
Recovery of the wreckage of flight MH17, commissioned by the Dutch Safety Board, began at the crash site on November 16, 2014. The documents on the recovery of the wreckage and the period subsequent to the recovery were published.
December 9, 2014
On December 9, 2014, two of the four convoys carrying the MH17 wreckage arrived at Gilze-Rijen air force base in south Netherlands, following which the investigation of the wreckage and preparation for the reconstruction effort had commenced.
October 13, 2015
The Dutch authorities released a report in October and presented its findings at the Gilze-Rijen air force base.
READ MORE: Dutch MH17 Commission Presents Crash Report
According to the findings, flight MH17 crashed as a result of a warhead that detonated as a result of a 9M38-series missile. The DSB report did not specify who fired the missile or the exact location from which the missile that downed Flight MH17 was fired. It did however identify a 320-square-kilometer area in eastern Ukraine.
The missile, identified as part of an antiaircraft system known as Buk, detonated less than a meter to the left of the cockpit of the Boeing 777, according to the report, killing the pilots instantly and causing the aircraft to break apart.
In response to the report, the Russian arms manufacturer and developer of the Buk missile system Almaz-Antey, said the missile in question could only have been launched from the region of Zaroshchenske, controlled by Kiev forces at the time of the incident.
February 25, 2016
On 4 and 10 February 2016 Dutch Parliament asked questions to the Dutch Safety Board, relating to the investigations of the Board into the crash of flight MH17.
"The Dutch Safety Board concludes, with reference to paragraph 5.13 of ICAO Annex 13, that none of the information provided can be regarded as new and significant evidence."
September 28, 2016
At a press conference in Nieuwegein in the Netherlands, the Dutch-led Joint Investigation Team (JIT) said there was conclusive evidence that a Buk 9M38 missile hit the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777. A hundred suspects "have been identified" and an investigator said there was a ‘realistic chance' that those responsible will be brought to justice.
"All forensic investigation, witness statements, telecom information, satellite photos, radar data, expert expertise and other supporting evidence, points to an attack by means of a ground air defense system. Flight MH17 was shot from the ground with a BUK rocket from the 9M38 series. This is apparent, for example, from forensic research. Researchers have compared suspected parts of the weapon found on the crash site with reference material. They have dismantled different types of BUK missiles from the 9M38 series. For example, the metal of particles found was compared with the parts from the dismantled missiles," the investigation reported.
In turn Almaz-Antey said the JIT didn't have sufficient technical evidence to support allegations Russia was somehow involved in downing MH17.
Commenting on the report, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that the technical details and testaments on which the report was based came from social media and unnamed witnesses.
The Dutch prosecutor's office said in the beginning of 2017 it lacked information to read radar images provided by Russia, following the publication of the September report.
Evert van Zijtveld, chairman of the MH147 Aviation Disaster Foundation, said the confusion with the interpretation of the radar data is a major setback. "Therefore, there remain doubts about the true causes of the crash. This could not be allowed," he told Telegraaf.
The JIT investigation has dismissed the fact that the Buk missile was not visible on the radar images, provided to the prosecutors by Russian, did not mean that the missile had not been used.
May 24, 2018
Top Dutch investigator Wilbert Paulissen announced that the JIT "has come to the conclusion that the BUK-TELAR that shot down MH17 came from 53rd Anti-aircraft Missile Brigade based in Kursk in Russia. The 53rd Brigade forms part of the Russian armed forces," he told reporters at a press conference in the Netherlands.