Malaysia Airlines flight MH17: Australian flight safety experts to test crash theory

Australian Federal Police officers and their Dutch counterparts collect human remains from the MH17 crash site in the self proclaimed Donetsk Republic, Ukraine on 2 August, 2014. Photo: Kate Geraghty Foreign Minister Julie Bishop delivers a statement at the UN Security Council. A vote for a resolution on the downing of MH17 was vetoed by Russia. Photo: Trevor Collens/DFAT

A video still of the BUK-M1 system purportedly being transferred in a rebel convoy back to Russia after MH17 came down, according to the Ukraine government. Photo: Ukraine Security Service

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London: Australian flight safety experts will examine a reconstruction of part of the MH17 plane to test their theory on why it crashed.

The experts have joined colleagues from five nations in the Netherlands to discuss their report on last year’s MH17 disaster.

The two-day meeting, which began on Monday, is intended to hash out their final conclusions after a two-month review of a draft report.

As well as discussing the progress of the investigation they will visit air force base Gilze-Rijen to view the reconstruction of a part of the aircraft.

However, the meeting may also feature heated argument, as Russia has flagged it is unhappy with the draft report’s conclusion that blames Russian-backed separatists in Ukraine’s east.

The experts from Australia, Malaysia, Ukraine, Russia, the US and UK will discuss two draft reports on the crash: one on its cause, and another that assesses whether the plane should have been assigned its given flight path.

The Dutch Safety Board, which is co-ordinating the investigation, sent the draft reports to those countries’ flight safety boards in June, with sixty days assigned for them to respond.

The final report is due in October, however some details have leaked.

In July, CNN said the draft report pointed to pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine having shot down the plane using a BUK missile launched from a village under their control.

According to CNN’s source, the report also criticises Malaysia Airlines for continuing to fly over the war zone without properly warning its pilots of the danger.

However, a Russian aviation official has said the draft report “raises more questions than it gives answers”. Oleg Storchevoi, a deputy chief of Rosaviatsiya (the Russian Federal Air Transport Agency) was quoted by Russian news agencies saying they had complaints regarding both the technical data and the arguments in the report.

“The Russian Federal Air Transport Agency has already sent its disagreements and comments to the Netherlands,” Mr Storchevoi said. “They obviously cannot publish these and they can’t be published until the final report comes out.”

Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 crashed in Donetsk Region on July 17, 2014, killing all 283 passengers and 15 crew members aboard – including 39 people who called Australia home.

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