More than four months after a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 was shot down over eastern Ukraine, recovery of the aircraft has been completed. The mangled aircraft pieces were loaded onto rail cars and shipped, under supervision of Dutch investigators and security officials.
298 people died on July 17th aboard Malaysia Airlines flight 17, which had taken off from Amsterdam, carrying a large number of Dutch citizens. While a full forensic investigation has yet to be completed, photos from the crash site shows that the plane was impaled by projectiles from a surface-to-air missile that was fired at the plane. Now that the wreckage is recovered, they should be able to determine what type of missile was used to bring down the plane.
A report issued in September by the Dutch investigative team showed that the pilots were asked to increase the flight's altitude from 33,000 feet to 35,000 feet but the pilots denied the request. A Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) instructed flights not to fly below 32,000 feet in the region, due to political unrest, but being above FL320, the Malaysia pilots were doing nothing questionable.
Russia's state-run TV station has blamed Ukraine's air force, and the missile suspected to have been used in the attack is the SA-11 "Buk" surface-to-air missile. Many questions remain, including which missile was used, and whose control the missile was under when it was under when fired at the Boeing 777. It is widely believed that whoever did fire the missile at the plane believed that their target was a military aircraft, and had no intent to kill innocent airline passengers.