PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A local man is watching developments in Ukraine very closely.

Aviation expert Craig Conroy has been on national television numerous times discussing airplane disasters, but this time, the plane was shot down.

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He believes, or at least prefers to believe, the missile that hit Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was an accident.

“No one’s taking credit for it, which makes you think it might be an accident,” said Conroy. “That they were aiming at something else, and the heat-seeking missile went for that because of its size and the amount of ambient heat that comes out there.”

He says investigators have quite a task ahead of them.

“They said they have a five-day limit, and that’s not a lot of time,” said Conroy. “What they do is an autopsy on a plane.”

“They like a hangar where they can refabricate the parts of it and look at it piece by piece like a jigsaw puzzle,” said Conroy.

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He says the cockpit voice recorder, and of course, the flight data recorder could provide clues.

“That’s a very good piece of the puzzle,” he said. “It’ll definitively say the plane was shot down. It stopped abruptly at a certain altitude.”

(Photo credit: Dominique Faget/AFP/Getty Images)

(Photo credit: Dominique Faget/AFP/Getty Images)

As for why the plane flew over unstable Ukraine, even after some warnings had been issued, he points out it was still the most direct route.

“They probably figured it was just a safe way, and fuel is expensive,” said Conroy.

Official: Malaysian Plane Shot Down Over Ukraine (7/17/14)
CBS News’ Coverage
More Reports by David Highfield

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David Highfield