A couple of hours after the MH17 went down, I was asked to appear on a TV channel to try and make sense of what was happening. I finally left the studio at 6.30am saying that a BUK system had downed the aircraft.
We know now that it’s true. The 9M-MRD was downed by a proximity-fused BUK. Conspiracy theorists were quick to jump the gun saying a Su-25 Frogfoot did it using its cannons while others posted a video of a plane going down somewhere in India and passed that off as the MH17.
There were no bombs on board, no were there bullet holes on any part of the fuselage. In fact Malaysia Airlines too cannot be faulted for flying in that area because 61 carriers flew there, with 160 aircraft flying there on that fateful day itself until the airspace was declared off-limits.
When the announcement was made by the Dutch Safety Board, everyone thought it would be the day we would know who the perpetrators are. When no such detail was given, families were left disappointed. Some journalists and even a cabinet minister asked on social media why have the perpetrators been allowed to go scot-free?
This is the Dutch Safety Board. It operates in accordance with Annex 13 of the ICAO guidelines as follows:
The investigation team was only to find out hownthe plane was brought down and if there were weaknesses in the system that could have prevented the incident from happening – and learn lessons to prevent recurrence. To find the perpetrators is the job of another investigation team that looks at the criminal aspects of the MH17 incident.
We all want to know who made 9M-MRD stare at us like in the photo above. But that is not for us to know tonight. That will come at a time I hope that is not too far in the future.
I am glad that the cockpit crew did not know what happened to them. It was swift. It was in the microseconds. I am not too happy that some had a minute or slightly more to digest what was happening. I don’t even want to imagine those last moments.
And we wouldn’t have known anything much had we not been able to retrieve the black boxes as well as most of the bodies of the victims if not for these two men who worked in an unorthodox manner to secure them.
While everyone else was figuring on how to get to Donetsk, these mostly-forgotten two paved the way for our team to get there.