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Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 broke up midair after being hit by "a large number of high-energy objects," according to a preliminary report published Tuesday. The detailed investigation by the Dutch Safety Board (DSB) stopped short of saying a missile downed the plane, but pointed toward an "external cause" with no evidence of a technical or crew-related fault. The report looked at data from black box recorders and air traffic control, as well as satellite images and photographs from the scene. The aircraft stopped responding over eastern Ukraine and there were no warning tones from the cockpit or distress signals received by air traffic controllers, the report said.
The report said that wreckage suggested the cockpit broke off first and that the rest of the plane “continued in a down and forward trajectory before breaking up.” International experts collaborated on the case and the DSB is expected to publish the full results within a year. DSB Chairman Tjibbe Joustra said Tuesday attempts to determine the cause were "for the sake of the loved ones of the victims and for society at large." All 298 aboard MH17 died when it crashed on July 17. U.S. intelligence said it was shot down by pro-Russian rebels, which Moscow denied.