New MH17 photos suggest surface-to-air missile launch by separatists

RTL Nieuws have photos in their possession that give more information about the circumstances of the disaster with flight MH17. According to the news agency, the photos and an interview with the man who took them prove that the disaster was very likely caused by an anti-aircraft missile fired from a separatist region in eastern Ukraine.

It involves a series of three high resolution photos taken shortly after the firing of the missile and immediately after the plane crashed. The photos were taken in the vicinity of the crash site. The first two pictures show a vertical plume, which seems to come from where the missile was launched. The third picture shows a large black plume of smoke, probably from where the plane come down. RTL Nieuws did not publish the photos, to protect the privacy of the photographer.

RTL Nieuws also spoke to a photographer, who remains anonymous to protect his privacy. "I photographed that white line. At the time I did not know what it meant. For me it was just a white stripe: from the horizon up to the clouds where it disbanded. Only later it became clear what it was." The photographer handed his camera in to the International Commission of Inquiry. He also spoke to a Dutch and Australian investigator.

According to IT security firm Fox-IT and Eduard de Kam, an expert in the field of digital photography, there is no sign of manipulation in the photos. Former Air Force Commander Theo Walker, who was responsible for shooting missiles from the ground at Defense, also viewed the photos. "What you see here is very likely the trail of a missile, of a rocket that was fired." he said to RTL Nieuws.

TU Delft and satellite company Netherlands Geomatics & Earth Observation (NEO) investigated where the plume originated, based on the photographs. This investigation led to a field, which looks strange on satellite images of a few days after the disaster. The rocket was most likely fired from this field, which was in rebel territory on July 17th. "On the image before the diaster we see a normal field with wheat on it. But after the disaster we see a black spot. That black spot can be burnt land." says Corné van der Sande of NEO.

The Public Prosecutor has confirmed that it has the photos in its possession and that they form part of the criminal investigation into the disaster.


Related stories