Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was likely struck by multiple "high-energy objects from outside the aircraft," causing it to break up over eastern Ukraine, a preliminary report into the disaster concluded today. The report by the Dutch Safety Board stopped short of saying the Boeing 777 was shot down by a missile, but its findings appear to point to that conclusion. It also didn't say who might have been responsible. The Boeing 777 suddenly plunged out of the sky July 17 over pro-Russia rebel-held territory in Ukraine, killing all 298 passengers and crew on board. "The damage observed in the forward section of the aircraft appears to indicate that the aircraft was penetrated by a large number of high-energy objects," the report states.
Because of the ongoing conflict between pro-Russia rebels and Ukrainian forces, investigators from the board have not visited the fields where the wreckage of Flight 17 plunged to the ground. That likely contributed to the board's cautious assessment of what happened. "Detailed examination of the structural damage is ongoing," the report says. "Forensic examination will be performed if the wreckage can be removed." Investigators so far have studied photos of the crash site, radar data, and information gleaned from the downed jet's black boxes. The cockpit voice recorder "revealed no signs of any technical faults or an emergency situation," the report states. "Neither were any warning tones heard in the cockpit that might have pointed to technical problems." (Read more Malaysia Airlines MH17 stories.)