Satellite imagery of Flight MH17’s crash site in eastern Ukraine

July 22nd, 2014, Published in Articles: PositionIT


DigitalGlobe has captured satellite imagery of the crash site of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 in eastern Ukraine. The aircraft, a Boeing 777-200, was on a scheduled flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. It was carrying a total number of 295 people – comprising 283 passengers and 15 crew members.

Credit: DigitalGlobe

Credit: DigitalGlobe

On 22 July 2014, the remains of 282 people retrieved from the crash site and currently in Torez, will be moved by train to Kharkiv, where they will be handed over to representatives from the Netherlands. The remains will then be flown to Amsterdam on board a Dutch C130 Hercules, together with six Malaysian members of the recovery team. Following any necessary forensic work, the remains of Malaysian citizens will then be flown home to Malaysia.

Maylasia’s Minister of Transport, Liow Tiong Lai, has expressed deep concern over the crash site not having been properly secured. “The integrity of the site has been compromised, and there are indications that vital evidence has not been preserved in place,” he said.

“Interfering with the scene of the crash risks undermines the investigation itself. Any actions that prevent us from learning the truth about what happened to MH17 cannot be tolerated,” he added.

Credit: DigitalGlobe

Credit: DigitalGlobe

MH17’s flight plan was approved by Eurocontrol, the air navigation service provider for Europe which is governed under International Civil Aviation Organisation rules, and which is solely responsible for determining civil aircraft flight paths over European airspace. The route over Ukrainian airspace where the incident occurred is commonly used for Europe to Asia flights. A flight from a different carrier was on the same route at the time of the MH17 incident, as were a number of other flights from other carriers in the days and weeks before. Malaysia Airlines has confirmed that the aircraft did not make a distress call.

DigitalGlobe’s online subscription service for emergency management, FirstLook, was activated on 17 July 2014 in response to the crash of MH17, and three of the company’s satellites imaged the area. DigitalGlobe was able to collect cloud-free images of the crash site on 20 July and 21 July 2014 and FirstLook customers received the imagery a few hours later. The high-resolution and current satellite images provide the essential information required for emergency planning, risk assessment, monitoring of staging areas and crisis response, damage assessment, and recovery.

Related Articles

  • Achieving near real-time volume data delivery in opencast mining
  • Mobile mapping for evaluating road expansion
  • Proprietary solution for point cloud manipulation
  • New usage-based plans for on-demand positioning
  • Automate scan-to-deliverable workflows