Gathered pieces

Aircraft parts were found at six sites distributed over 19 square miles, which meant the plane broke up in the air.

1.

2.

6.

5.

3.

4.

Analyzed data recorders

Data indicated no abnormalities with equipment or crew and showed that the plane sent no distress signals. Radar data showed no other aircraft in the area, which ruled out a midair collision.

Made a model

Once investigators recovered as many pieces as they could, they used a computer model to figure out

what went where.

Rebuilt the plane

Then they reassembled fragments from the forward section of the plane onto a scaffold. This view clearly showed the crack where the cockpit was torn from the rest of the plane as the craft broke apart.

Examined fragments

The cockpit was perforated with hundreds of similar-sized iron fragments shaped like cubes and bowties. They had clearly come from outside the aircraft, which ruled out a bomb inside the plane.

Deduced a pattern

The pattern of the iron fragments across the top and left side indicated that they were propelled forcefully from about three feet above and to the left of the cockpit.

Analyzed sound

Four cockpit microphones had picked up the blast. By analyzing the tiny differences in timing, investigators confirmed the location of the explosion.

Tested for explosives

Traces of explosives on the plane body and missile fragments in the wreckage indicated that a missile probably brought down the plane.

Matched paint

Paint in the wreckage matched paint on recovered missile parts. The missile was identified as a 9M38 series missile carrying a 9N314M warhead filled with iron fragments, the type that would be launched by a Buk surface-to-air

missile launcher.

Gathered pieces

Aircraft parts were found at six sites distributed over 19 square miles, which meant the plane broke up in the air.

1.

2.

6.

5.

3.

4.

Analyzed data recorders

Data indicated no abnormalities with equipment or crew and showed that the plane sent no distress signals. Radar data showed no other aircraft in the area, which ruled out a midair collision.

Made a model

Once investigators recovered as many pieces as they could, they used a computer model to figure out what went where.

Rebuilt the plane

Then they reassembled fragments from the forward section of the plane onto a scaffold. This view clearly showed the crack where the cockpit was torn from the rest of the plane as the craft broke apart.

Examined

fragments

The cockpit was perforated with hundreds of similar-sized iron fragments shaped like cubes and bowties. They had clearly come from outside the aircraft, which ruled out a bomb inside the plane.

Deduced

a pattern

The pattern of the iron fragments across the top and left side indicated that they were propelled forcefully from about three feet above and to the left of the cockpit.

Analyzed sound

Four cockpit microphones had picked up the blast. By analyzing the tiny differences in timing, investigators confirmed the location of the explosion.

Tested

for explosives

Traces of explosives on the plane body and missile fragments in the wreckage indicated that a missile probably brought down the plane.

Matched paint

Paint in the wreckage matched paint on recovered missile parts. The missile was identified as a 9M38 series missile carrying a 9N314M warhead filled with iron fragments, the type that would be launched by a Buk surface-to-air

missile launcher.

SOURCE: Dutch Safety Board.