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Initial report on Ukraine plane disaster Tuesday

Posted Thursday, Sep. 04, 2014  comments  Print Reprints

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Dutch authorities leading an international investigation into the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over eastern Ukraine plan to publish a preliminary report Sept. 9 into the disaster that killed all 298 people on board.

The Dutch Safety Board said in a statement Thursday the report "will present factual information based on sources available" to its investigators.

Spokesman Wim van der Weegen said those sources include satellite imagery, radar details and data from the plane's "black box" recorders.

Investigators have not visited the site in conflict-ravaged Ukraine where wreckage of the plane plunged to the ground on July 17, though they do have photos, Van der Weegen said.

The report will set out what investigators believe happened, but will not apportion blame.

"What this investigation does is compare all these sources, and see whether they agree," he said.

"The investigation is still in full swing and the definitive report will be released within a year, according to international civil aviation rules."

Flight 17 was shot down while flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur over an area of Ukraine controlled by pro-Russia separatists. Victims came from 10 different nations — most of them were Dutch, but there were also many Malaysians and Australians.

Pro-Russian rebels in Ukraine have publicly denied responsibility for shooting down the craft, but one top rebel has told The Associated Press they were involved.

The Netherlands is coordinating criminal investigations into the disaster by multiple countries, including the Netherlands, Ukraine, Malaysia, Australia, and Belgium.

Remains of many — but probably not all — victims were gathered in the days after the crash and flown to the Netherlands for identification. 183 have been identified so far.

Searches of the crash site were halted Aug. 6 due to concerns that fighting in the immediate area was a threat for searchers.

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