Dutch prosecutors seek witnesses of missile that likely downed MH17 | News | DW | 30.03.2015
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Dutch prosecutors seek witnesses of missile that likely downed MH17

Prosecutors investigating the downing of a Malaysia Airlines plane in July are seeking witnesses who may have seen a missile being fired at the jet. Flight MH17 crashed in eastern Ukraine, killing all onboard.

In a statement released on Monday members of the team said they were looking for anyone "that can tell more about the transportation, crew and firing of a Buk missile system in the Donbass region" where the plane was allegedly shot down.

Dutch investigators have taken charge of the international investigation into the accident, and are reconstructing the plane's wreckage.

The group's spokesman, Wim de Bruin, said the missile theory was "the leading scenario."

But he added that they had not come to any conclusions, and "for that, more investigation is needed."

A video appealing for people to come forward is being broadcast on local television and radio stations, and circulated online.

It includes images of the missile system being carried aboard a flatbed truck, as well as audio of telephone conversations between pro-Russian rebels.

Prosecutors say they are examining four possible scenarios that could have caused the plane to come down, stating they had gained a "clearer impression" regarding the missile theory.

No warning

The Boeing 777 passenger jet was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur when it crashed on July 17.

No distress signal was sent, and the black box recordings ended abruptly.

Two-thirds of the 298 killed onboard were Dutch nationals, with other victims coming from countries including the United Kingdom, Australia, Malaysia, Germany and Belgium.

The preliminary crash report, released in September, concluded that the plane's fuselage had been pierced by numerous "high-energy objects."

Russia and Ukraine have been involved in a war spearheaded by pro-Kremlin separatists in the east of Ukraine.

At the time of the crash the Malaysia Airlines flight was flying around 33,000 feet (10,000 meters) above the restricted airspace.

Western governments and Kyiv have consistently blamed Russia for the crash.

Moscow maintains that the accident was Ukraine's fault, suggesting the missile was fired from a Ukrainian fighter jet.

an/sb (Reuters, AP)

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