Reuters recently reported that Dutch investigators looking into downing of Malaysia Airlines MH 17, the Boeing 777 aircraft shot down on July 17 over the Ukraine, are finding themselves having to largely rely on publicly available information. Because the crash occurred over rebel-held territory, investigators have determined the site is too dangerous to visit.
There are also reports of discussions between the Dutch and US intelligence communities aimed at getting satellite and/or radar data which might settle the question of the source of the weapon that downed the aircraft. The Russians — always a trustworthy source —- say it was a Ukrainian military aircraft. The United States has stated that it was shot down by Russian–backed rebels using a ground–to–air missile.
Lost in this discussion are the families of the 298 crew and passengers who perished. Governments care about the source of the instrument of destruction. Accident investigators care about causation. At least in this case, we can all agree the aircraft was shot down and, quite frankly, we know very little else. Meanwhile, on November 10, a “somber” commemoration ceremony took place in Amsterdam, attended by 1600 family and friends of the 298 passengers and crew who perished.
We also note that the greatest aviation mystery since the disappearance of Amelia Earhart continues, as the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 goes on. Once again, a planeload of passengers and the aircraft disappeared, and a large group of friends and families know virtually nothing about what happened on March 8, except that it’s a big ocean which doesn’t easily yield answers.
Plane-ly Spoken, like everyone else, waits for answers.
(Originally posted November 11, 2014)