The Dutch Safety Board is investigating the accident to flight MH17 which occurred at Thursday 17th of July 2014 in the region of Donetsk (Ukraine). The Dutch Safety Board will be doing all it can to provide a clear view of the cause of the accident.
The investigation is operated in accordance with the standards and recommanded practices in ICAO Annex 13. The state of of occurance (Ukraine) has delegated the investigation to the Dutch Safety Board. To this end agreements were set out in a Memorandum of Understanding between Ukraine and The Netherlands, and in an agreement between the Ukrainian National Bureau of Incidents and Accidents Investigation of Civil Aircraft (NBAAII) and the Dutch Safety Board. The Dutch Safety Board is leading the investigation and co-ordinating the international team of investigators.
In addition to the international accident investigation, the Dutch Safety Board is also conducting two other independent investigations: an investigation into the decision-making process with regard to flight routes and an investigation into the availability of passenger lists.
September 9, 2014
The Dutch Safety Board has issued the preliminary report on the investigation into the crash of MH17 on Tuesday September 9, 2014. The preliminary report presents factual information based on the sources available to the Dutch Safety Board.
In the months to come further investigation is needed before the final report can be written. The Dutch Safety Board expects to publish the final report within a year after the crash.
Click here (YouTube) to watch the explanation of the premliminary report by Chairman Tjibbe Joustra.
December 9, 2014
Recovery of the wreckage of flight MH17, commissioned by the Dutch Safety Board, began at the crash site on Sunday, November 16, 2014. The recovery was preceded by a long period of preparations. To enable the recovery of wreckage, the Dutch Safety Board agreed certain arrangements with the Ministry of Disaster Management with regard to handing over the wreckage and SES (the Ukraine State Emergency Service) assistance. These documents have now been published. The first document concerns the recovery of the wreckage. The second concerns the period subsequent to the recovery.
On December 9, 2014, two of the four convoys carrying wreckage have arrived at Gilze-Rijen air force base. The transport will be unloaded in accordance with a fixed procedure and will then be photographed, scanned and categorised. The investigation of the wreckage and preparation for the reconstruction effort will then commence.
October 13, 2015
On October 13 the final reports of the investigation into the crash of flight MH17 were published. In addition to the reports there is also a video about the investigation into the causes of the crash of flight MH17 on 17 July 2014 in the eastern part of Ukraine and the investigation into flying over conflict zones. The video was based on the investigation reports. You can find our YouTube-channel here.
February 25 2016
On 4 and 10 February 2016 Dutch Parliament has asked questions to the Dutch Safety Board. These questions relate to the investigations of the Board into the crash of flight MH17. The Dutch Safety Board has responded to these questions and also issued its response to a letter of the Russian Federation. You can find both responses below (questions are in Dutch).
- Response to questions Dutch Parliament
- Response to letter Russian Federation
- Appendix letter to Russian Federation
- Start date 18 jul. 2014
- End date 13 okt. 2015
- Type investigationFull
- Status investigationClosed
Board member for this project
Kort bericht 21 aug. 2014
1. Why is an investigation necessary?
In the event of an aircraft accident, it is very important to conduct an investigation in order to clearly ascertain the cause. This will allow the surviving relatives, other parties involved and also the world to understand what happened based on a factual account. An investigation can also contribute to the safety of civilian (and other) aviation: recommendations are made whenever necessary to avoid similar incidents in the future.
The Dutch Safety Board believes that the MH17 crash should be the subject of an extensive and in-depth investigation. In addition to the (international) investigation into the cause of the crash, the decision-making process surrounding flightroutes and the availability of passenger lists will also be examined.
2. Why is the Dutch Safety Board leading the investigation?
Ukraine has transferred responsibility for investigating the cause of the crash to the Dutch Safety Board. The request came from Ukraine.
This request was made because the flight departed from the Netherlands, and due to the large number of Dutch nationals who died in the crash. The transfer was formally recorded in an agreement on 23 July.
3. Which countries are involved in the investigation and why?
The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) states that it is the responsibility of the country where an aircraft accident took place to investigate the cause. Immediately following the crash of flight MH17, aviation investigators from Ukraine began investigating the cause of the accident. The Netherlands (as one of the countries affected) received official word of the crash of MH17 from the investigators shortly after it took place, including an invitation to take part in the investigation.
The ICAO agreement dictates that certain countries are obliged to be involved in the investigation. In principle, the country where the accident took place (state of occurance) should lead the investigation. However, the option is available to transfer the obligation of the investigation to another country. The countries where the operator is based, where the aircraft was designed and where it was built are also entitled to take part. Countries that can supply specific information or expertise may participate at the invitation of the party leading the investigation. Countries that suffered fatalities are also entitled to play a part in the investigation, but have limited rights.
In the case of the MH17 crash, many countries volunteered their assistance of their own accord. In some cases this assistance was accepted because the investigators had specific knowledge, information or expertise to offer.
The following countries have contributed (to a greater or lesser extent) to the international investigation team into the crash of flight MH17: Ukraine, Malaysia, Australia, Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States, Germany, France, Italy and Indonesia. The ICAO and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) also contributed to the investigation as organisations. The leadership of the investigation rests with the Dutch Safety Board, which will publish both the preliminary and final report. The countries that have a formal role as participants in the investigation under the ICAO agreement will be given access to the draft reports, and may provide feedback. The country leading the investigation may offer other countries access to the draft reports at its discretion.
4. Is it possible to conduct an effective investigation if nobody has visited the crash site itself?
Although additional investigation at the crash site itself is preferable, it is not impossible to conduct an effective investigation based on other sources and to produce a definitive final report. Incidentally, on the days following the incident (when Ukraine was still leading the investigation), several Ukrainian aviation investigators visited the crash site briefly several times for investigative purposes.
Once a secure and stable situation has been established, the Dutch Safety Board will visit the location. This in order to verify the results of the investigation from other sources and to conduct a specific search for wreckage and other vital pieces.
5. Why has the Dutch Safety Board not yet visited the crash site?
The Dutch Safety Board was not abled to visit the crash site because the safety of the investigators could not be guaranteed. The Dutch government believes that people investigating the causes of the crash will be at greater risk than forensic investigators, next of kin or journalists. In this respect, the safety of others at the crash site is also being taken into account: the presence of Dutch Safety Board investigators must not put others in danger.
Moreover, recovering the victims' bodies and searching for personal belongings had top priority. The opportunities for visiting the crash site were limited, and priority was given to forensic investigators (and the supporting marechaussees).
6. What is a preliminary report?
The preliminary report is an interim report used to publish the initial results of an investigation following an major aircraft accident. The ICAO agreement that sets out the investigative procedures for civil and other aviation states that a preliminary report must be released during an investigation. This report may also include safety warnings. The preliminary report is not subject to any criteria in terms of structure or scope. The content is partly dependent on the progress of the investigation and the need to report certain findings.
The preliminary report on the crash of MH17 being prepared by the Dutch Safety Board contains a number of facts based on various sources; allowing an initial, provisional sequence of events to be made. The investigation team collected information from various sources, such as the Cockpit Voice Recorder, the Flight Data Recorder, satellite and other images, and radar information. All the data is then compared to determine whether the various sources corroborate each other, or show a different view. This is a delicate and time-consuming process that has not yet been completed.
The draft versions of the preliminary report will be discussed by the international investigation team and with the Board prior to being published. The ICAO states that the normal period required for drawing up a preliminary report is 2-4 weeks, however justified exceptions are permitted. Given the particular and complex circumstances surrounding this occurence, it is not yet exactly clear when the preliminary report will be published.
7. Will the Dutch Safety Board be publicly releasing the content from the Cockpit Voice Recorder and the Flight Data Recorder?
Investigative materials and sources of information used by the Dutch Safety Board in its investigations are protected by law. Only information relevant to determining the cause of the MH17 crash will be included in the final report. The available investigative information will not be released publicly in their entirety, except for what is published in the final report. This is in accordance with the Dutch Safety Board Act (Rijkswet Onderzoeksraad voor Veiligheid) and the ICAO agreement.
8. When will the final report be released?
An aviation accident investigation requires a lot of time. Not only is the investigation a complex, delicate and therefore time-consuming process involving various different parties, the Dutch Safety Board is also bound to international regulations that are set out in the ICAO agreement. One of these regulations prescribes that a draft of the final report must be presented for feedback to all parties which are formally involved. These parties then have sixty days to respond to the draft, after which the Dutch Safety Board must incorporate their feedback. The definitive report is expected to be published within one year.
9. What is the difference between the preliminary report and the final report?
The preliminary report provides an overview of the initial, provisional facts a relatively short time after the occurence. When the report is released, not all investigation data will have been analysed and no definitive conclusions drawn. Additional investigation data, an analysis and the conclusions based thereon will be included in the final report, making it far more extensive and in-depth.
10. Why does the Dutch Safety Board not issue any statements concerning guilt or liability?
In addition to providing a clear understanding of the cause, the aim of the Dutch Safety Board's work is to increase safety. This is achieved by investigating the causes of an incident and – if possible – making recommendations to improve safety. This is set out as such in the ICAO agreement, which deals specifically with aviation investigations.
11. What is the ICAO and what is Annex 13?
Founded in 1947, the International Civil Aviation Organisation is a specialist UN organisation whose goal is to establish the principles and standards for international civil aviation for the improvement of aviation. Among other things, the ICAO agreement prescribes how aviation accidents must be investigated, and that the purpose of such investigations must be to improve safety and not to apportion blame or establish liability. Annex 13 (one section of the agreement) describes how investigations into aviation incidents should be conducted, the criteria that the report must satisfy, and which countries need to be involved.
Read the Q&A in PDF.
Other messages in this phase
Nieuws 27 aug. 2015
Today, the Dutch Safety Board informed relatives and the accredited representatives to the investigation that the Board will publish the final report on the investigation into flight MH17 on 13 October 2015. Prior to the official publication of the report, the relatives will be informed about the conclusions of the investigation during a closed information meeting. In September, the relatives will receive an invitation to the information session containing details of the location, the time and how they can register.
Persberichten 11 aug. 2015
In cooperation with the Dutch Safety Board (DSB) the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) investigates several parts, possibly originating from a Buk surface-air-missilesystem. These parts have been secured during a previous recovery-mission in Eastern-Ukraine and are in possession of the criminal investigation team MH17 and the Dutch Safety Board.
Nieuws 10 aug. 2015
This morning the team of international aviation investigators who investigate the cause of the crash of flight MH17, started a meeting that will last for a number of days. During this meeting, lead by the Dutch Safety Board, the team will discuss the progress of the investigation and will visit air force base Gilze-Rijen to view the reconstruction of a part of the aircraft.
Nieuws 7 mei 2015
This afternoon, the team of international aviation investigators who investigate the cause of the crash of flight MH17 concluded an investigation meeting at Gilze Rijen air force base.During the team's first meeting (at the end of February) the members shared the findings of the investigation to date.
Nieuws 23 apr. 2015
Following the accident to flight MH17 and the publication of the Dutch Safety Board’s preliminary findings, the question arose from the next of kin as to whether or not the persons on board the flight were aware of the crash.
Nieuws 19 mrt. 2015
In the investigation to the accident to flight MH17, the Dutch Safety Board wants to be able to confirm the final conclusion against multiple sources. 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.
Nieuws 7 mrt. 2015
533 relatives of 151 victims of flight MH17 visited the wreckage of the aeroplane. 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. These visits went well.
In the shelters, relatives could touch a number of pieces of wreckage. In the hangar where the actual investigation is taking place, they could view 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“, said Safety Board Chairman Tjibbe Joustra.
Nieuws 3 mrt. 2015
Nieuws 20 feb. 2015
The team of international aviation investigators who investigate the cause and contributing factors of the crash of flight MH17 concluded the investigation meeting at Gilze-Rijen. In the past week they conducted several investigations on the wreckage, including the fractures, the failure mechanisms and the impact patterns. This meeting is part of the procedures prescribed by the ICAO provisions on international aircraft accident and incident investigation.
Nieuws 30 jan. 2015
Next of kin of the victims of flight MH17 may visit the wreckage of the aeroplane in the first week of March at the Royal Netherlands Air Force base, Gilze-Rijen. Dutch Safety Board Chairman, Mr. Tjibbe Joustra announced this at a meeting for next of kin in Nieuwegein. He expects, next week, to be able to provide more information about the form and the dates of the visit.
Persberichten 12 dec. 2014
The fourth and final convoy carrying wreckage from flight MH17 arrived at Gilze-Rijen air force base today. A total of sixteen trucks loaded with parts of the wreckage travelled from Ukraine to the Netherlands over the past week. The shipment was carried out in four convoys. Having arrived at the air force base, the wreckage will now be investigated. Efforts will also be made to reconstruct part of the aircraft.
Persberichten 9 dec. 2014
The first pieces of wreckage of flight MH17 have arrived in the Netherlands. Two convoys comprising eight trucks arrived at Gilze-Rijen air force base at 02.00 p.m. The transport will be unloaded in accordance with a fixed procedure and will then be photographed, scanned and categorized. The investigation of the wreckage and preparation for the reconstruction effort will then commence.
Persberichten 8 dec. 2014
Persberichten 6 dec. 2014
The first MH17 wreckage is set to arrive in the Netherlands over the course of the coming week. The first transport to the Netherlands comprises several sealed trucks and two covered low-loaders. Upon arrival at the air force base, the transport will be unloaded in accordance with a fixed protocol and all wreckage components will be photographed, scanned and categorized following a fixed procedure. The investigation of the wreckage and preparation for the reconstruction will then take place in a designated hangar cleared especially for this purpose. Access to the facilities will be restricted to the investigators for the duration of the activities.
The exact date and time of the arrival of the transport is not yet known.
Persberichten 1 dec. 2014
The wreckage from flight MH17 recovered in the disaster area on instructions of the Dutch Safety Board will be loaded on trucks and transported to the Netherlands during the coming week. Once it has arrived in the Netherlands, the wreckage will be stored and investigated at the Gilze Rijen Air Base. This is also the location where part of the aircraft will be reconstructed.
Nieuws 27 nov. 2014
Investigators from foreign investigation boards met in the Hague last week regarding the investigation into the decision making processes regarding flight routes. During this meeting the investigators discussed the preparation and decision making processes surrounding the selection of flight routes in different countries and how information is exchanged between countries.
Nieuws 23 nov. 2014
The recovered wreckage from flight MH17 is underway towards Kharkov. The train with wreckage on board departed from Torez this morning and has 12 train wagons. A few parts of wreckage were too big for transport by train and arrived in Kharkov by truck yesterday.
When the wreckage has arrived in Kharkov, transportation to the Netherlands will be prepaired. At this point it can not be said when and in what way this transport will be carried out.
Nieuws 22 nov. 2014
The Dutch recoveryteam in Donetsk today will be preparing the transport of the recovered wreckage to Kharkov. This saturday the team will not go to the crashsite where wreckage of flight MH17 has been recovered last week.
In the passed week the recoveryteam has brought wreckage from the crashsite to Torez every day and loaded it into trains. Preparations are being made for transport by train to Kharkov. At this point it can not be said when the transport will take place. A few parts of wreckage turned out to be too large to load into trains and will be transported to Kharkov by road with two trucks today.
Nieuws 21 nov. 2014
The recovery of the wreckage in the desaster area of flight MH17 is going well. The work has been completed for today. The team has to make some preparations before the wreckage can be transported to Kharkov. It is not clear yet how many day’s it will take to finish the work.
Nieuws 21 nov. 2014
This morning the recovery of wreckage from flight MH17 has been continued for the sixth day in a row. The wreckage will be brought to Torez en loaded into trains. Later on the wreckage will be transported to Kharkov and finally to the Netherlands.
Nieuws 20 nov. 2014
For the fifth day in a row there has been wreckage recovered of the MH17 aircraft. The recovery team was able to work according to plan and in good cooperation with the local services. The team expects to need a few more days for the recovery. On this moment it’s not possible to say how many days exactly.
Nieuws 20 nov. 2014
This morning the recovery of wreckage from flight MH17 has been continued. The wreckage will be brought to Torez en loaded into trains. Later on the wreckage will be transported to Kharkov and finally to the Netherlands.
Nieuws 19 nov. 2014
The recovery of wreckage has ended for today. The team was able to work at two locations at the crashsite and brought the recovered wreckage to Torez where it was loaded into trains. Later on the wreckage will be transported to Kharkov and finally to the Netherlands. When the conditions allows it, the recovery will be continued tomorrow.
Nieuws 19 nov. 2014
The wreckage recovery of flight MH17 has been continued this morning. For the fourth day in a row wreckage will be recovered from the crash site and loaded onto trains. The recovery is commissioned by the Dutch Safety Board that wants to bring the wreckage to the Netherlands for investigation and for a partial reconstruction of the aircraft.
Nieuws 18 nov. 2014
The recovery of MH17 wreckage is finished for today. For the third day in a row, the recovery team was able to work as planned and in good cooperation with the local services. The wreckage were taken to Torez, where they are loaded onto rail wagons. Later on the wreckage will be transported from Torez to Kharkov and then to the Netherlands.
Nieuws 18 nov. 2014
This morning the recovery of wreckage from flight MH17 has been continued for the third day in a row. The opportunity for the recoveryteam to be able to work at the crashsite depends on safetyconditions and weatherconditions. The first two days the team was able to work as planned and wreckage has been brought to Torez and loaded into trains. Later on the wreckage will be transported to Kharkov.
Nieuws 17 nov. 2014
The recovery of wreckage of flight MH17 went well today and the team was able to work as planned. For the second succesive day there has been taken wreckage of the crashsite for the investigating into the cause of the crash. Among others the tailsection of the aircraft was recovered today. The recovered wreckage was again brought back to Torez and loaded onto rail wagons. Later on the wreckage will be transported by train to Kharkov.
Nieuws 17 nov. 2014
The recovery of wreckage of flight MH17 has been continued this morning. For the second day wreckage will be recovered for the investigation into the cause of the crash of flight MH17. The wreckage will be brought to Torez, where it will be placed on trains. Later on it will be transported to Kharkov and finally to The Netherlands.
Persberichten 16 nov. 2014
Today the recovery of wreckage from flight MH17 has started. The Dutch Safety Board commissioned the recovery and transportation to the Netherlands of the wreckage as part of the investigation into the cause of the crash of flight MH17. As part of the investigation the Dutch Safety Board intents to reconstruct a section of the aircraft.
Persberichten 6 nov. 2014
The Dutch Safety Board has commissioned the recovery and transportation to the Netherlands of wreckage from flight MH17. As part of the investigation into the cause and progress of the crash, the Dutch Safety Board intends to reconstruct a section of the aircraft.
Nieuws 13 okt. 2014
On 23 July 2014 the Dutch Safety Board took charge of the international investigation into the cause of the crash of flight MH17. This was carried out at the request of Ukraine and in consultation with ICAO. Under Annex 13 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation the State where the aircraft accident occurred may delegate the investigation to another relevant State by mutual arrangement and consent. To this end agreements were set out in a Memorandum of Understanding between the two countries, and in an agreement* between the Ukrainian National Bureau of Incidents and Accidents Investigation of Civil Aircraft (NBAAII) and the Dutch Safety Board. In the Netherlands, the Dutch Safety Board is the designated independent organisation that conducts investigations into aircraft accidents and incidents.
Nieuws 4 sep. 2014
The Dutch Safety Board will issue the preliminary report on the investigation into the crash of MH17 on Tuesday 9 September 2014. The preliminary report will be available at www.safetyboard.nl at 10:00 AM local time Amsterdam (08:00 hours UTC).
Persberichten 11 aug. 2014
The investigation into the crash of flight MH17 led by the Dutch Safety Board will continue in The Hague. In recent weeks, an international team of some 25 aircraft accident investigators has collected as much investigation information as possible in Ukraine. Since it is not necessary to stay in Ukraine any longer to analyse the information and write a report on the preliminary findings, the team has relocated to The Hague to continue its work.
Kort bericht 25 jul. 2014
The Dutch Safety Board is conducting three investigations as a result of the crash of flight MH17.
The first investigation will focus on establishing the cause of the plane crash. This is an international investigation, involving several countries, and will be conducted in accordance with the rules of ICAO. The Dutch Safety Board will take the lead in this investigation. Facts that are obtained as a result of the investigation will be used to establish the cause of the crash and rule out other possible causes.
Persberichten 25 jul. 2014
In the next few days, investigators from the international team investigating the cause of the crash will set out on several missions to the scene of the disaster. The investigation on the basis of other sources, such as photographs, satellite images and the data recorders (black boxes) will also continue. The missions to the disaster area will focus on verifying the information already obtained from other sources, searching for possible new information and seizing materials that could be relevant to the investigation, such as particular pieces of the wreckage. The fact that a great deal of information has already been gathered will allow the investigation team to examine the disaster area in a very specific and focussed manner.
Persberichten 24 jul. 2014
Following yesterday’s press release, the international investigation team led by the Dutch Safety Board, continued the work on the Cockpit Voice Recorder and the Flight Data Recorder today. The work took place at the Farnborough headquarters of the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) in the United Kingdom. The international investigation team has conducted a thorough examination of the Flight Data Recorder. The Flight Data Recorder was slightly damaged but the memory module was intact. Furthermore, no evidence or indications of manipulation of the recorder was found. Following the examination, the data was successfully downloaded and the Flight Data Recorder contained valid data of the flight. The data from both recorders will be further analysed and combined.
Nieuws 24 jul. 2014
The Dutch Safety Board gave permission to move wreckage on the crashsite, after a request about this received by the Safety Board through the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). This in order to be able to salvage the remaining victims. The moving of the wreckage will be carried out by local parties.
Persberichten 23 jul. 2014
On Tuesday 22 July 2014 at 22:00 in Kiev, Ukraine, the flight data and cockpit voice recorders (the 'black boxes') from the Malaysian Airlines flight 17 were taken into custody by the Dutch ambassador and a team of investigators led by the Dutch Safety Board. The Dutch Safety Board requested that the Air Accident Investigation Branch of the United Kingdom (AAIB) perform the data download from both the recorders. The recorders were transported to the AAIB's laboratory at Farnborough, arriving 23rd July in the early morning.
Persberichten 23 jul. 2014
Dutch Safety Board heads investigation: investigation effort in full swing, black boxes currently being read out
The Dutch Safety Board took over formal responsibility for the air crash investigation from Ukraine yesterday evening. The two black boxes have since arrived in the United Kingdom, where they are currently being read out and analysed by a team of international specialists. The on-site investigation in Ukraine is currently in full swing. Although investigators still do not have safe access to the crash site, work to gather and analyse data from various sources is underway in both Kiev and the Netherlands.
Persberichten 18 jul. 2014
The Dutch Safety Board is shocked by the air disaster in Ukraine and thoughts are with the next of kin of those on board. The Board will be doing all it can to provide next of kin with as much information as possible about the disaster. Therefore the Board will be travelling to Ukraine at the earliest opportunity to take part in the international investigation into the disaster, which occurred in the Donetsk region.