Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 that crashed over rebel-held eastern Ukraine split into pieces during flight after being hit by numerous high-speed objects, said a report released by The Netherlands on Tuesday.
"Flight MH17… 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," said the preliminary report into the disaster that claimed 298 lives, most of them Dutch citizens.
The report, which comes almost two months after Flight MH17 went down, also said the Boeing 777-200 was airworthy when it took off from Amsterdam and was staffed by a "qualified and experienced crew".
"There were no technical problems," the 34-page report stated.
The report said the fact that the plane was hit by high-speed objects "explains the abrupt end to data registration on the recorders, the simultaneous loss of contact with air traffic control and the aircraft's disappearance from radar".
The Boeing was blown out of the sky over eastern Ukraine as it was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur on July 17, killing all on board, including 193 Dutch citizens.
Kiev and the West accused pro-Russian separatists of shooting down the plane with a surface-to-air missile supplied by Moscow.
Russia, which denies mounting Western claims of direct involvement in the five-month conflict in Ukraine, has blamed government forces for the attack. – AFP