Dutch Safety Board will present on October 13 the final reports on 4 investigations. Also the maker of the BUK missile, Almaz Antey , will have a pressc onference at October 13.
This blog will provide some thoughts on the possible announcements of both press presentations.
The DSB reports answers the four questions below:
- The cause of the MH17 crash;
- Why aircraft were flying over a warzone;
- Why the names of the passengers were made public only after 2 to 4 days?
- Did the passengers suffer?
I expect highly political driven reports. Especially the report which should provide answers to why airlines were flying over a war zone.
The presentation will last 30 minutes and starts at 13:15. After the presentation has finished the press will not be able to ask questions. Which is very remarkable. DSB explained that “the 30 minutes presentation is the most efficient way to present the report. All questions the press might have will be answered in the report”. It is unlikely there will be a seperate event for the press at a later date to ask questions.
The reports in english and dutch language are made available at the end of the presentation.
Why MH17 crashed
The presentation on the cause of MH17 crash will likely include a simulation showing the audience what happened. My guess is the simulation will not show the complete flight path of the missile. I think it does show the route of MH17. And likely to show the route of MH17 the previous days. My guess is the simulation will show the shrapnel cloud and how it hit the aircraft. It will then show that the cockpit and business class section separated from the rest of the aircraft.
Already in January 2015 I predicted that DSB will report MH17 was shot down by a BUK SA-11 Surface to Air missile. See my post here.
Based on the response of the Russian government and some leaked info it is for sure DSB will indeed report a BUK-missile as the cause of the crash.
DSB investigators reconstructed the plane from the nose to as far back as the galley behind the cockpit and found holes as large as 76mm in diameter. See my post here.
DSB will not report about who pressed the button which launched the missile. It is simply not the task of DSB to pinpoint the culprit. For that same reason I doubt DSB will mention the possible location the BUK missile was launched from. An extra reason for no mentioning: in June 2015 the JIT team took ground samples of the possible launch location near Snizhne. At that time the draft final version of the DSB report was already sent to the participating member states.
Based on the shrapnel damage an indication can be given from the angle the missile approached MH17. In this blogpost you will find an overview of the damage. The post also provided a tool to simulate the distribution of the sharpnel based on speed of missile, speed of MH17 and angle of attack.
Why aircraft were flying over a warzone
This will be the most political influenced of the four reports. Ukraine State failed to close the airspace despite strong indications or even facts BUK-systems were operating in Eastern Ukraine. If DSB confirms Ukraine was aware of the presence, Ukraine is to blame as well for the death of 298 people. As Ukraine delegated the investigation to the DSB, it is likely Ukraine has the final word of what is being presented.
The report should answer the question why the Ukraine avaiation authorities decided to close the airspace up the 32.000 feet instead of closing the airspace completely. Why was 32.000 decided? What was it based on? Crucial questions.
Remember the draft version of the DSB report had a remarkable deletion of a sentence mentioning a NOTAM. More information here.
Also the Ukraine published NOTAMS did not mention the reason for the partial closure of the airspace. The Russian published NOTAMS did have.
The DSB report should also mention that on July 16 an SU-25 was shot down while flying at high altitude. The Ukraine government states the aircraft was shot down by a Russian jet. This alone should be enough reason to close the airspace.
MH17 was a code share flight with KLM. KLM sold tickets for this flight. The role of KLM is rumoured to be not a part of the report.
The Almaz Antey presentation
At 10:00 on October 13 Almaz Antey , maker of the BUK-system, will give a press presentation in Moscow. Press has been invited last week. Flight and hotel are paid by Almaz Antey. The company states they will present the results of an explosion of a BUK missile near an aircraft. Sputnik news states this aircraft is an old Boeing.
Almaz Antey will probably make two statements:
- the BUK missile was launched from a location directly south of where Boeing 777 was flying. The missile was not launched from near Snizhne.
- the BUK missile was of a type not in use by the Russian armed forces.
Fore sure Almaz Antey did not shot down a real aircraft flying at 10 km. So they used a BUK-missile somewhere and had it exploded near a wreck of a parked passenger aircraft. My gues an old Tupolev stored an a Russian airport. This simulation is for several reasons of little value.
The main reason is that both the aircraft and the missile are not moving. To be able to calculate the angle and speed of impact of shrapnel we need to add the speed and direction of the shrapnel caused by the explosives plus the speed and angle of the missile.
This is a simple vector calculation as explained here.
Almaz Antey is likely to conclude the BUK missile used was of type 9M38M1. A type Russia does not operate anymore according Almaz Antey. That is incorrect. Reuters photographed in August 2014 a truck with containers showing ‘9M38M1’ as possible content of the container. Bellingcat has the details on this.