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MH17 hit with ‘high-energy objects’: Report

Malaysian Airline System Flight MH17 crashed over eastern Ukraine after it was hit by "a large number of high-energy objects that penetrated the aircraft from outside", the first official report into the disaster found.

At the time of the crash on July 17, U.S. intelligence officials accused pro-Russian separatists fighting with the Ukrainian army in the east of the former-Soviet country of shooting the plane down with a surface-to-air missile.

Read MoreTimeline of MH17 tragedy

Though the findings of the report by the Dutch Safety Board, an independent air accident investigator, seem consistent with this theory, they stopped short of saying the Boeing 777 was shot down, and did not attribute the crash to any one group.

Here are the key findings from the report by the Dutch safety board:

'High-energy objects'

Aircraft wreckage was scattered across a large area near the towns of Rozsypne and Hrabove; indicating that the plane "broke up in the air", according to the report.

Ukrainian rescue servicemen look through the wreckage of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in Grabovo, Ukraine.
Rob Stothard | Getty Images
Ukrainian rescue servicemen look through the wreckage of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in Grabovo, Ukraine.

Investigators said that holes in the cockpit indicate that the aircraft was hit from the outside by "high-energy objects".

"The pattern of damage observed in the forward fuselage and cockpit section of the aircraft was consistent with the damage that would be expected from a large number of high-energy objects that penetrated the aircraft from outside," the report said.

Read MoreMH17: The missile, black box, route explained

But the investigators said that they have not had the chance to recover the wreckage for forensic examination.

'No manipulation' of black box

After Flight MH17 crashed, armed rebels in the area took one of the so-called black boxes or flight recorders. Four days later, the rebels handed the device over to Malaysian officials in Dontesk and then given to the Dutch Safety Board the following day.

"No evidence or indications of manipulation of the recorders were found," the report concluded.

STR | AFP | Getty Images

The voice recorder in the cockpit was damaged, but the full 30 minutes of it was successfully downloaded. But investigators said that no alerts of aircraft system malfunctions were given and there was no indication that there was anything abnormal about the flight up until the point it broke up.

Communication cutoff

At the time of the incident, Flight MH17 was in contact with an air traffic control centre in Dnipropetrovsk's, Ukraine, but lost contact shortly after 4.20pm local time.

Below is an extract from the transcript.

Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 transcript
Dutch Safety Board

Flight path

MAS came under criticism for choosing to fly over eastern Ukraine, where violence was raging between pro-Russian separatists and Ukrainian government forces.

The altitude of the flight was also subject to scrutiny. The Boeing 777 was travelling at a height of 33,000 feet -- above the altitude the Ukrainian aviation authority had deemed safe on that route.

Read MoreMH17 Ukraine crash: Images from the ground

While there were restrictions covering the airspace that Flight MH17 was flying over, the Dutch report concluded that the jet was "in unrestricted airspace above the restricted area".

- By CNBC's Arjun Kharpal