MH17 Flight Recorders and Evidence

By Robert Mark on July 20th, 2014
MH17 site

AP photo of the MH17 site in eastern Ukraine

The trouble with an aircraft accident that happens on the other side of the world for we Americans, especially one that occurs in a battle zone, is understanding which source speaks the truth about what’s happening on the ground.

Right now the MH17 crash is one of those kind of accidents. The Ukrainians say the Russians and the separatists were behind shooting down the Boeing 777 while the Russians either point the finger at the Ukraine government or simply refuse to answer at all.

For us over here, reports vary from “people are wandering all over the MH17 accident site and have already given the black boxes to the Russians,” to the alternative I heard this morning, “the site is completely intact and nothing valuable has been removed.” So who do we believe? Our only official source in the U.S. is the White House press secretary of the State Department and they say the site’s been compromised.

While I do agree that the first 24-48 hours worth of accident information almost always seems to be tainted with rumor more than anything else, it does make it pretty tough to relate the story without a journalist or government source we can trust to tell us what they see on the ground.

That said, I thought you might find this Saturday evening interview from Fox News about the potential implications of the data recorders and evidence being removed from the MH17 site of interest. It runs about 5 minutes.

Rob Mark, Publisher

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3 Responses to “MH17 Flight Recorders and Evidence”

  1. Bill Palmer Says:

    This may be the type of crash where the flight recorders provide the least number of clues. The details of how long the airframe remained somewhat intact or what the pilots said when, without warning, their airplane exploded around them seem moot.

    The real evidence will be from the spy satellites that detected and recorded the missile launch, the intercepted phone conversations about the downing of the misidentified airplane, and evidence about the movement of the missile launcher between Russia and the Ukraine. This is the stuff we hope the NSA is really doing. Let’s hope they’re not too secretive to give up the necessary evidence—to prevent others from knowing what their capabilities are.

    Analysis of the wreckage may indicate where exactly the missile’s warhead first compromised the airplane, and to prove what type of missile it was. Will knowing that make any difference? I don’t see how.

  2. Robert Mark Says:

    As one of my Aussie pals told me the other day Bill, until the investigators examine the wreckage, how do we really know for certain that it wasn’t an explosive device inside the aircraft?

    I realize that might seem far-fetched at this point, but we honestly do not know anything for certain other than that the airplane seems to have exploded long before it hit the ground.

    At very least, if the bad guys had any sense at all, they will already have removed any of the tainted fuselage parts that could lead back to them, so I guess all we can do is wait and see.

  3. Bill Palmer Says:


    Of course, you are right. They might surprisingly discover that it was the center fuel tank that exploded. Beware of political appointees on the investigating team.

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