The explosion also caused the cockpit to instantly separate from the rest of the aircraft. After that "instantaneous separation," the rest of the plane continued to fly for more than five miles before breaking into further pieces, according to the report.
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The center part of the airliner traveled beyond the rear section and came to rest upside down after hitting the ground. "Parts of the wreckage caught fire," the report added.
Investigators estimated it took the center and rear parts of the airplane 60 to 90 seconds to reach the ground after the blast. "Other, lighter parts would have taken longer," the report said.
Investigators found no evidence that the passengers or crew performed "conscious actions" after the missile's detonation, saying it was likely they were "barely able to comprehend the situation in which they found themselves."
However, the aircraft's oxygen masks did deploy, according to the report.
"It was not possible to ascertain at which moment the occupants died," it added. "The impact on the ground was not survivable."
Ukraine and its Western allies have long alleged that pro-Russian rebels fighting in eastern Ukraine brought down MH17 using a Russian-made missile system — a claim Moscow staunchly denies. While Tuesday's report apportioned no blame, it was the first confirmation that the airliner was shot down using the BUK missile launcher — a Russian-made system.
Investigators came to this conclusion by analyzing a number of minute details.
A 2.3-millisecond noise was recorded on the cockpit's voice recorders before the system stopped working. By triangulating the signal, experts were able to show that it originated outside the aircraft.
Their conclusion was also based on "bow-tie"-shaped fragments found inside the bodies of the flight's crew members that were consistent with a 9N314M missile launched as part of the BUK system.
The Dutch team that compiled the report also based this conclusion on "explosive residues and paint" that were found on some of the fragments.