As new details emerge of the ongoing investigation into Malaysia Airlines’ ill-fated Flight MH17, the cause of the crash that claimed 298 lives over conflict-riddled eastern Ukraine remains unclear.
A preliminary analysis of the airplane’s cockpit voice recorder (CVR) revealed nothing unusual, Malaysian news outlet The New Straits Times reported on Sunday, citing a source close to the investigation.
“So far, from what the team has heard, there was nothing unusual. The last voice heard was not the pilot’s. No, there was no indication that the pilots saw or sensed anything off,” the source said in comments carried by the newspaper.
The CVR device records all transactions in the cockpit, including interactions with air traffic controllers.
It is not clear whether the Ukrainian side has provided the investigation team with its own recordings for comparison, according to The New Straits Times.
Michael Bociurkiw, spokesman for the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine, claimed last week that some of the airplane’s remains were covered with mysterious marks that could have come from heavy machine-gun fire.
“There were two or three pieces of fuselage that were heavily pockmarked — almost looked like machine-gun fire, very, very strong machine-gun fire that has left these unique marks that we have not seen anywhere else,” Bociurkiw said in an interview with Canada’s CBC news.
But in comments to The Moscow Times on Sunday, Bociurkiw clarified that he had not meant to say that the holes originated from machine-gun fire. “I was just trying to describe what we saw – unique holes. As we are not experts we cannot draw any conclusions, not can we possibly say how they were caused,” he said.
Russia's Defense Ministry claimed earlier that the Malaysian airliner was escorted by Ukrainian fighter jets that are equipped with machine guns.
The first official findings of the probe will be made public this week, according to the source.