MH17 plane wreckage due in Netherlands today

Almost five months after Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was downed over Ukraine, the wreckage of the Boeing 777 is to finally reach the Netherlands for close examination by accident investigators.

MH17 plane wreckage due in Netherlands today

Almost five months after Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was downed over Ukraine, the wreckage of the Boeing 777 is to finally reach the Netherlands for close examination by accident investigators.

A total of 298 people, including 10 Britons, were killed when the Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur aircraft was seemingly shot down on July 17 in an area where pro-Russian separatists operated.

Today, with families of those lost in the tragedy looking on, wreckage recovered from the crash site will arrive at Gilze-Rijen air force base in southern Netherlands.

The wreckage has made its way to the Netherlands in a convoy of lorries which are due to reach the air base at around 1pm UK time.

After it has been unloaded all the wreckage will be photographed, scanned and categorised by the Dutch Safety Board (DSB) which is leading the investigation into the crash.

The DSB will then start an inspection of the wreckage and will prepare to reconstruct part of the aircraft in a hangar specially set aside for the investigation.

Up until last month, the DSB had had only limited access to the crash site. But recovery work was able to begin on November 16 and lasted for a week.

It was then decided to transport the wreckage to the Netherlands by road.

A preliminary report by the DSB in September said wreckage was “consistent with the damage that would be expected from a large number of high-energy objects that penetrated the aircraft from outside”.

Despite the difficulty in accessing the site due to fighting in the area, the black box flight recorders were recovered early on and were passed to the DSB after being inspected at the UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) headquarters at Farnborough in Hampshire.

In its September preliminary report, the DSB said the black box information showed the MH17 flight proceeded normally until 1.20pm local time after which all recordings “ended abruptly”.

The DSB said pieces of wreckage were pierced in numerous places and that most likely there had been “an in-flight break-up”.

The board added that it aimed to publish a full report within one year of the date of the crash.

The MH17 disaster followed on from the disappearance in March this year of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, which was flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 237 passengers on board.

A reconstruction of a section of the MH17 aircraft by Dutch investigators would echo the work done by the AAIB which gathered wreckage from Pan Am flight 103 after it exploded over Lockerbie in December 1988 and painstakingly rebuilt part of the fuselage at Farnborough as part of its investigation.

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