Data from Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17's flight data recorders show that the plane sustained a “massive, explosive loss of pressure after being punctured multiple times by shrapnel,” Ukraine security spokesman Andrei Lysenko told Associated Press, or AP.
Australian and Dutch experts ditched a second attempt to reach the crash site of MH17 amid security concerns as fighting raged in eastern Ukraine between pro-Russia separatists and the Ukrainian government. The investigators were able to get as far as Shakhtarsk, a town about 20 miles from the crash site of the Malaysia Airlines plane, AP reported. The team is supposed to secure the site so that investigations into what caused the plane to crash can commence.
Lysenko went on to say that the plane suffered “massive explosive decompression” after it was hit by a missile. The recorders have been sent to the UK where they will be examined by experts.
Both Ukrainian and western intelligence sources claim MH17 was hit by a Russian-made surface-to-air missile that they say was operated by pro-Russia separatists. Russia has denied any involvement in the disaster and has blamed Ukraine for creating the unstable security situation in the eastern portion of the country that caused the crash.
While fighting in eastern Ukraine has continued for four months, there has been a recent uptick in violence as Ukrainian government forces fight to regain control of territory from pro-Russia separatists. Citing U.N. figures, the AP said about 1,100 people have died from the fighting in a four-month span.
Flight MH17, which was bound for Kuala Lumpur from Amsterdam, crashed on July 17, killing all 298 people on board. The majority of people -- 193 of the 298 -- on board were Dutch nationals. Malaysia suffered the second-most casualties with 43 deaths, followed by Indonesia with 12 and the UK with 10.