The wreckage of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 - downed over Ukraine in July - was "consistent with the damage that would be expected from a large number of high-energy objects that penetrated the aircraft from outside", crash investigators have said.
The fact that there were many pieces of aircraft structure distributed over a large area indicated that the Boeing 777, en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, broke up in the air, a preliminary report by the Dutch Safety Board (DSB) said.
The DSB expects to publish the final report within a year after the crash.
No one has claimed responsibility for the shooting down of the Malaysia Airlines flight over war-torn Ukraine on July 17, but it is suspected that the plane was been hit by a missile fired by pro-Russian separatists.
The DSB has not been able to visit the crash site because the safety of the investigators could not be guaranteed in an area where fighting continues .
A total of 298 people, including Irishwoman and mother-of-two Edel Mahady (pictured), were killed.
Ms Mahady, a school teacher, was returning to Perth in Australia where she lived following a visit to her mother in Dublin.