Contrary evidence continues to emerge about MH- 17

A senior Dutch government official’s disclosure that one victim of the Malaysia Airlines plane crash in eastern Ukraine had been found wearing an oxygen mask led to dismay on Thursday among investigators and outrage among victims’ relatives.
“People are shocked when they hear this and wonder what other information there is but isn’t shared,” Veeru Mewa, a lawyer representing the families of several Dutch passengers who died aboard the plane, told Dutch television.
Frans Timmermans, the foreign minister, mentioned the discovery of the oxygen mask late Wednesday during an appearance on a popular Dutch television talk show, where an interviewer brought up the July 17 crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which killed 298 people.
Wim de Bruin, a spokesman for the Dutch national prosecutor’s office, expressed dismay about the disclosure on Thursday. He confirmed that forensics experts had found a yellow plastic oxygen mask around the neck of a male victim among the bodies that arrived at Eindhoven Air Base a week after the crash.
Several news organizations reported that the victim was an Australian, but Mr. de Bruin declined to confirm this.
Once the victim was identified, Mr. de Bruin said, investigators informed his next of kin, but withheld the information about the mask from the public while they sought further evidence that might help explain the discovery.
“We did not make it public because we are still investigating the circumstances and its significance,” Mr. de Bruin said.
Mr. Timmermans quickly apologized to victims’ families for the disclosure in a government statement. But by then, the remarks had already resulted in waves of angry comments as well as intense speculation on Dutch social media about what, if anything, the presence of the oxygen mask might indicate about the circumstances of the crash.
The plane, a Boeing 777-200, was headed from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and because the majority of those on board were Dutch, the Netherlands is handling the investigation. A preliminary report published last month by the Dutch Safety Board, which is leading the technical inquiry into the crash, found that the plane was struck at cruising altitude by several “high-energy objects” and most likely broke up in midair.
The most widely held view, at least in the West, is that pro-Russian rebels fighting the Ukrainian government in eastern Ukraine shot down the jet with a surface-to-air missile, mistaking it for a Ukrainian military plane. The safety board expects to publish a final report on the crash next summer and declined to comment Thursday on the significance of the oxygen mask.
Air crash experts said they were puzzled by the discovery.
George Bibel, a forensics expert and professor of mechanical engineering at the University of North Dakota, said that normally, in the case of a rapid decompression of the aircraft cabin, the plane’s oxygen masks would deploy automatically.
“I can imagine a mask remaining around the neck as described,” Professor Bibel said. “The plane ripped apart, some of the oxygen masks deployed, somebody managed to put one on.”
But he also acknowledged the possibility that the mask was placed on the victim’s body after the crash. Debris from the accident was scattered over several miles of farmland controlled by the rebels, and much of the site was left unguarded for days.
Evidence tampering, Professor Bibel said, “could also be an explanation.”

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