MH17 black box indicates a missile destroyed the Boeing 777

The flight data recorder from MH17 indicates a 'massive explosive decompression' occurred, consistent with a missile strike on the passenger aircraft, reports CBS News.

REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin
Wreckage at the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 near the village of Hrabove (Grabovo), Donetsk region July 26, 2014. Fighting prevented investigators from reaching the site Sunday.

The flight data recorder, one of two "black boxes" retrieved from the crash site of Malaysia Airways Flight 17, indicates that the commercial airliner was brought down by a missile.

"It did what it was designed to do," a European air safety official told CBS News, "bring down airplanes."

The official described the finding as "massive explosive decompression."

This would be the latest evidence that is consistent with what US, Ukrainian, and European officials have said. Britain's Foreign Office issued this statement on Saturday: "Given the large and growing body of credible evidence, without compelling information to the contrary, we believe it is highly likely that that flight MH17 was shot down by the Russian SA-11 surface to air missile system, operating from within a Russian-backed separatist area in eastern Ukraine."

Russian officials and state media have spun a series of possible alternative theories, including that MH17 was full of already dead bodies and that Ukrainian air force fighters shot the plane down in a bungled attempt to assassinate President Vladimir Putin. There has been little or no evidence to support these theories.

Fierce fighting between Ukrainian troops and pro-Russian rebels on Sunday near the crash site forced international investigators to abandon efforts to find the truth behind the demise of the Malaysia Airlines jet and all 298 people on board. A spokesman with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe said they will attempt to return Monday.

Pro-Russian separatists still control the area where the plane was shot down. But fighting in the wider eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk has been heavy as Ukrainian government troops try to drive them out. Each side says the other is tampering – or intends to tamper – with evidence at the crash site.

"Kiev is trying to destroy the evidence of a crime by its Army," separatist leader Aleksander Borodai told Reuters, referring to a Ukrainian Army offensive some distance from the site on Sunday.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said an agreement reached with separatist leader Borodai would "provide protection for international crash investigators" to recover human remains and ascertain the cause of the crash.

"We also need a full deployment of investigators to have unfettered access to the crash site so we can understand precisely what happened to MH17. I hope that this agreement with Mr Borodai will ensure security on the ground, so the international investigators can conduct their work," Najib said.

"Three grieving nations" - Malaysia, Australia, and The Netherlands – had formed a police group to secure the site, he said in a statement issued by his office.  Officials from Australia and The Netherlands have said the mission would not be armed.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.