Sector Aviation

Investigation crash MH17, 17 July 2014 Donetsk


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

Preliminary report

  • No evidence of technical faults
    Flight MH17 with a Boeing 777-200 operated by Malaysia Airlines broke up in the air probably as the result of structural damage caused by a large number of high-energy objects that penetrated the aircraft from outside.  This is mentioned  in the preliminary report on the investigation into the crash of MH17 that has been published today by the Dutch Safety Board. There are no indications that the MH17 crash was caused by a technical fault or by actions of the crew.
    The cockpit voice recorder, the flight data recorder and data from air traffic control all suggest that flight MH17 proceeded as normal until 13:20:03 (UTC), after which it ended abruptly. A full listening of the communications among the crew members in the cockpit recorded on the cockpit voice recorder revealed no signs of any technical faults or an emergency situation. Neither were any warning tones heard in the cockpit that might have pointed to technical problems. The flight data recorder registered no aircraft system warnings, and aircraft engine parameters were consistent with normal operation during the flight. The radio communications with Ukrainian air traffic control confirm that no emergency call was made by the cockpit crew. The final calls by Ukrainian air traffic control made between 13.20:00 and 13.22:02 (UTC) remained unanswered.
    The pattern of wreckage on the ground suggests that the aircraft split into pieces during flight (an in-flight break up). Based on the available maintenance history the airplane was airworthy when it took off from Amsterdam and there were no known technical problems. The aircraft was manned by a qualified and experienced crew.
    Pattern of damage
    As yet it has not been possible to conduct a detailed study of the wreckage. However, the available images show that the pieces of wreckage were pierced in numerous places. The pattern of damage to the aircraft fuselage and the cockpit is consistent with that which may be expected from a large number of high-energy objects that penetrated the aircraft from outside. It’s likely that this damage resulted in a loss of structural integrity of the aircraft, leading to an in-flight break up. This also explains the abrupt end to the data registration on the recorders, the simultaneous loss of contact with air traffic control and the aircraft's disappearance from radar.
    Further investigation
    In its preliminary report, the Safety Board presents the initial findings of an investigation that is still fully underway. More research will be necessary to determine more precisely what caused the crash and how the airplane disintegrated. The Board believes that additional evidence will become available in the period ahead. From this point on, the research team will start working towards producing the definitive investigation report. The Board aims to publish the report within one year of the date of the crash.
    The draft preliminary report has been sent to the Accredited Representative of the states that participate in the investigation (Malaysia, Ukraine, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, the United States of America and Australia) for review. All Accredited Representatives have sent a reaction. The Dutch Safety Board assessed the provided suggestions and amended the report where appropriate.  
    Tjibbe Joustra, Chairman of the Dutch Safety Board
    “The MH17 crash has shocked the world and raised many questions. The Dutch Safety Board wishes to determine the cause of the crash, for the sake of the loved ones of the victims and for society at large.”
    “The initial results of the investigation point towards an external cause of the MH17 crash. More research will be necessary to determine the cause with greater precision. The Safety Board believes that additional evidence will become available for investigation in the period ahead.”
    “The preliminary report issues the first findings in a ongoing investigation. From this point on, the investigation team will be working towards producing its final report. The Board aims to publish this report within one year of the date of the crash.”

    Click here for press release in pdf

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Crash MH17 - Chairman Tjibbe Joustra about the preliminary report

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