Washington — New video has emerged, showing two Iranian missiles striking a Ukrainian jetliner last week, killing all 176 people on board. The first anti-aircraft missile can be seen traveling right to left across the screen. It explodes next to the plane, almost certainly piercing the fuselage with shrapnel.
"A loud noise, possibly warhead debris coming through the skin of the aircraft, utter confusion on the airplane. The sensation of the pilot struggling to keep the thing airborne," said retired Navy Admiral Sandy Winnefeld.
Thirty seconds elapse before a second missile is fired.
"Passenger jets are large airplanes. After the first missile hit the operator in the surface-to-air missile site was not certain that he had brought down the airplane and fired the second missile," Winnefeld said.
After the second one explodes, the sky goes dark until a faint glow emerges as the burning aircraft tries to make it back to the airport. Then there's a fireball, which doomed any chance of survival.
"Once that fuel in that aircraft, which is taking off and is loaded with fuel, when that fuel detonates, it's going to be a very bright explosion," Winnefeld said.
Iran on Tuesday announced the arrests of those responsible, for what apparently was a horrendous mistake by the missile operators. But perhaps the biggest mistake was the failure to close Iranian air space to commercial aircraft when air defenses were on high alert.