Dutch investigators release preliminary MH17 report

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Photo courtesy of the BBC

By Jethro Mullen

(CNN) — Dutch aviation investigators released a preliminary report Tuesday laying out what little they know about what brought down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over Ukraine, but without assigning any blame for the deadly crash.

Flight 17 came down in eastern Ukraine on July 17 in an area controlled by pro-Russian separatists. Of the 298 people killed, around two-thirds were Dutch.

The crash site in the war-torn region was unsecured for many days, but the Dutch Safety Board report found “no evidence or indications of manipulation of the recorders.”

The report said there was no sign of any audible alerts or of any malfunction or worries communicated between the crew on the flight data recorders.

The Boeing 777 “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,” a press release accompanying the report said.

“There are no indications that the MH17 crash was caused by a technical fault or by actions of the crew,” the statement said.

It’s unclear who shot it, but the U.S. and Ukraine have accused pro-Russian separatists operating in the region of downing the plane with a missile.

The separatists, who deny responsibility, took control of the crash site for weeks, combing through the wreckage and hindering access to investigators.