The Dutch Safety Board has taken over formal responsibility for the investigation into the crash of Malaysia Airlines MH17.
In a statement Wednesday, the Dutch Safety Board said it took over lead for the investigation from Ukraine Tuesday evening. It also said the aircraft’s voice and data recorders had arrived in the UK and being read out and analyzed.
MH17, a Boeing 777-200, was shot down over the Ukraine last week on a scheduled flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. The majority of the 298 people on board were Dutch; all passengers and crew were killed.
A Russian-made surface-to-air missile fired by Russian separatists is believed to have brought down the aircraft.
“The on-site investigation in Ukraine is currently in full swing. Although investigators still do not have safe access to the crash site, work to gather and analyze data from various sources is underway in both Kiev and the Netherlands,” the Dutch Safety Board said.
“The first priorities will be to gather information from the crash site, analyze the black boxes and coordinate the international team. Ultimately, the air crash investigation should offer victims families and the international community a clear and comprehensive overview of the causes and course of the crash.”
Participating in the investigation are teams from Ukraine, Malaysia, Australia, Germany, the US, the UK and Russia, as well as ICAO.
Despite the fact that evidence and traces have been damaged or lost, the Dutch Safety Board said it expects it will be able to gather sufficient relevant information from the crash site.
“If the investigation shows evidence of any criminal or terrorist activities, the information will subsequently be submitted to the relevant authorities in accordance with applicable regulations. The Dutch Safety Board's investigation will focus on ascertaining facts, rather than apportioning blame,” the Board said.