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Australia's NSW Coroner: MH17 crash was 'deliberate, gross mass murder'

Australia's NSW Coroner: MH17 crash was 'deliberate, gross mass murder'Australia's New South Wales Coroner Michael Barnes has found the deaths of six NSW passengers in the Malaysia Airlines flight 17 crash were caused by 'deliberate, malicious acts on the other side of the world,' according to Sky News Australia

NSW has jurisdiction to make findings into the deaths of its citizens but Barnes said important aspects of the disaster remained unknown, Sky News Australia wrote.

'But it would be pointless ... not to acknowledge that these deaths were part of a gross mass murder,' Barnes said.

'A joint investigation team is conducting a criminal investigation into the disaster with the ultimate goal of identifying and prosecting the perpetrators of the attack.'

Criminal investigations are still ongoing but the Dutch Safety Board has determined the plane was targeted by a Russian-made warhead launched off a surface-to-air-missile system by pro-Russia separatists in a conflict zone of Ukraine near the Russian border.

The missile detonated within a metre of the plane's cockpit, sending hundreds of cube and bow-tie shaped pieces of shrapnel into the plane, separating the cockpit from the business class section and spreading wreckage across six sites in a 50km radius.

Read also: Buk missile launcher that shot down MH17 came from Russia - Bellingcat

Counsel assisting the NSW coroner Cate Follent said the findings of the Dutch Safety Board indicated some passengers suffered serious and probably fatal injuries in the explosion, while others would have fallen rapidly unconscious or died in the moments after the explosion.

She said it would be appropriate for the coroner to adopt the board's findings and declare the deaths the result of 'the action of another person or persons' given criminal investigations are still ongoing.
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