MH17 hit multiple times by shrapnel

CAROLINE ZIELINSKI
Last updated 16:26 27/07/2014
mh17
MAXIM ZMEYEV
HANDOVER: A pro-Russian separatist shows members of the media a black box belonging to Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, before its handover to Malaysian representatives, in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine.

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Data retrieved from the ill-fated MH17 flight black box shows the plane was hit multiple times by shrapnel from a missile explosion.

As the clean-up of the wreckage site continues in Grabovo, Ukraine, European officials have described the finding as "massive explosive decompression", CBS News reports.

On Saturday, a European air safety official told the news organisation that the missile "did what it was designed to do - bring down airplanes".

Although Australian, Malaysian and Dutch investigators have been scouring the site for days, they are yet to unearth more solid evidence establishing the cause of the crash, such as the sort of blast holes than an exploding missile might make through a plane. 

Personal belongings, passports and identification cards are still being found, along with human remains scattered around the site. 

As Australian and Dutch governments scramble to secure deals with key players to enable a safe and thorough investigation, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said on Friday he would deploy Australian Defence Force personnel as soon as security clearance was granted.

Fifty unarmed Australian Federal Police officers and 40 of their Dutch counterparts left the Netherlands for Ukraine on Saturday morning, but under Ukraine's constitution no armed forces can enter the country without Parliament's approval.

There are currently more than 200 Australian officials in Europe working on the MH17 tragedy, including about 40 AFP officers carrying out victim identification work.

Out of the 298 victims who perished in the tragic plane crash on July 17, it is understood that about 100 passengers are still unaccounted for. 

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- Fairfax Media

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