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9 September 2014, 09:30 | Updated: 30 March 2016, 13:50
A report's been released into the Malaysia Airlines plane crash which killed two Newcastle United fans
Crash investigators say the wreckage of flight MH17 - downed over Ukraine in July - was "consistent with the damage that would be expected from a large number of high-energy objects that penetrated the aircraft from outside''.
A preliminary report by the Dutch Safety Board (DSB) said the fact that there were many pieces of aircraft structure distributed over a large area indicated that the Boeing 777, en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, broke up in the air.
A total of 298 people, including Newcastle United fans John Alder and Liam Sweeney, died in the July 17th crash.
The DSB also said the black boxes recovered from the war-torn crash site in Ukraine showed no evidence of manipulation.
The black box cockpit voice recorder (CVR) which provided a record of pilots' conversations "gave no indication of any malfunction or emergency'' before the crash.
The black box flight data recorder (FDR) showed no evidence of technical malfunctions or warnings. Both recordings ended at three seconds past 1.20pm local time.
At the time of the crash, the aircraft was flying at a height of 33,000ft in the eastern part of Ukraine.
It was flying on a constant heading, speed and altitude when the FDR ended.
t the time of the crash, the Boeing 777 was in radio communication with air traffic controllers (ATC) at the Ukrainian city of Dnipropetrovsk.
The last radio transmission made by the Boeing crew began at 1.19 and 56 seconds and lasted three seconds. By the time another four seconds had passed, the black box recordings stopped.
ATC's last radio transmission to the Air Malaysia flight began at 1.20pm precisely and ended at two seconds after 1.22pm. The crew did not respond to these transmissions.
The report said:
"Damage observed on the forward fuselage and cockpit section of the aircraft appears to indicate that there were impacts from a large number of high-energy objects from outside the aircraft.
The pattern of damage observed in the forward fuselage and cockpit section of the aircraft was not consistent with the damage that would be expected from any known failure mode of the aircraft, its engines or systems.
The fact that there were many pieces of aircraft structure distributed over a large area indicated that the aircraft broke up in the air.''
UPDATED 6am, 9th September 2014
The first report into the downing of the Malaysia Airline flight over Ukraine, which killed two Newcastle United fans, will be published later.
John Alder and Liam Sweeney were on a trip of a lifetime, to see their team play in a pre-season tournament in New Zealand, when they plane they were on crashed over Ukraine, killing everyone on board.
10 Britons in total were among the 298 people on the plane.
Crash investigators will publish the report this morning.
The Dutch Safety Board (DSB) is leading the investigation into the disaster.
The DSB has said:
"The preliminary report will present factual information based on the sources available to the DSB. In the months to come, further investigation is needed before the final report can be written.''
The DSB expects to publish the final report within a year after the crash.
No one has claimed responsibility for the shooting down of the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 over war-torn Ukraine on July 17th, but it is suspected that the plane was been hit by a missile fired by pro-Russian separatists.
The plane was en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, with the majority of those on board being Dutch.
The DSB has not been able to visit the crash site because the safety of the investigators could not be guaranteed in an area where fighting continues .
The black boxes from the flight were recovered and taken to the UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch's (AAIB) headquarters in Farnborough, Hampshire, for analysis.
'Black Box Findings'
The DSB said both the boxes were damaged but valid flight data had been successfully downloaded.
It has already announced that its preliminary report will include not only the black box findings but also information gathered from satellite and other images, and radar information.
In a question-and-answer section on its website, the DSB posed the question of whether it would be publicly releasing the content from the cockpit voice recorder and the flight data recorder which comprise the two black boxes.
The answer given by the board was:
"Investigative materials and sources of information used by the DSB in its investigations are protected by law.
Only information relevant to determining the cause of the MH17 crash will be included in the final report.
The available investigative information will not be released publicly in their entirety, except for what is published in the final report.''
As well as looking into the facts of the MH17 disaster, the DSB is conducting an investigation into the decision-making process concerning the flight routes and the risk assessment made in choosing to fly over eastern Ukraine.
In addition, the DSB is investigating why the complete passenger list for MH17 was not available immediately.
The board added:
"The DSB will not make any statements with regard to apportioning blame or liability, and these issues will not form part of its investigation.''