MH17 crash: Packed in train, frozen remains begin final journey back home

Four days after the plane was downed, rebels have finally handed over the black boxes to Malaysian experts and allowed the bodies of the victims to be taken to the Netherlands.

Zee Media Bureau/Supriya Jha and Tarun Khanna

  • The US intelligence officials believe that the Pro-Russian rebels most likely shot down the flight MH17 mistakenly not realising it was a commercial plane.
  • The international investigation team, led by the Netherlands, has decided to pass the black boxes to the UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch for forensic analysis, Malaysian Minister of Transport Liow Tiong Lai said in a statement.
  • The Netherlands government said that the black boxes from flight MH17 have been handed by Malaysian officials to to the Dutch Safety Board (OVV) that is leading the international investigation.
  • The US intelligence officials are expected to present data backing up the theory that pro-Russian rebels were responsible for the downing of flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine.
  • Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte in a statement said that Wednesday has been declared as a national day of mourning for the 193 Dutch victims of the flight MH17 crash.
  • According to a BBC report, the chief of Dutch forensic team has revealed that the train carrying the remains of victims of MH17 incident contains only 200 bodies which are less than that was claimed by the rebels.
  • The Netherlands` Frans Timmermans said that European Union is imposing new sanctions on officials backed by Russia and considered responsible for carrying out attacks in Ukraine.

    Also Read: EU imposes new sanctions against Russian officials

  • Prime Minister David Cameroon`s office said that Dutch air accident investigators are allowed to retrieve data from MH17 black boxes for international analysis at Farnborough

    Meanwhile, Malaysian Deputy Transport Minister Aziz Kaprawi also confirmed Reuters that a lab in the UK will receive the jet`s black boxes.

  • Russian Ambassador to Malaysia Lyudmila G Vorobyeva today called the accusations on Russia`s involvement in the Malaysian passenger plane crash in Ukraine, baseless.

    During a press conference in Malaysia, she said that Ukraine combat aircraft flying on the same route of MH17 was detected by the Russian armed forces.

  • According to Reuters report, European Union governments will discuss a specific list of possible new targets for Russia sanctions on Thursday, but will make no decisions at today`s meeting of EU foreign ministers.
  • The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry has welcomed the UN resolution demanding ceasefire at the crash site of Malaysian flight MH17 and independent probe into the incident.

    The ministry has also agreed to render unconditional support to the investigators.

    On the other hand, Russia has also welcomed the resolution and agreed to assist the probe.

  • President Vladimir Putin assures that Russia will use its influence to urge the rebels in eastern Ukraine into allowing a full investigation into MH17 crash, Reuters reported.
  • Dutch PM Mark Rutte has said that the first bodies will reach Netherlands on Wednesday, the Guardian reported citing a CBS news tweet.
  • The black boxes of the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 are in the custody of Malaysia, Prime Minister Najib Razak said.

    "The Malaysian team has taken custody of the black boxes, which appear to be in good condition. They will be held securely in Malaysian custody while the international investigation team is being formalised," Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said in a statement.

    Also Read: Malaysia quietly worked back channels to secure bodies, black boxes

  • As a part of identification process of the bodies, experts are collecting DNA samples from the next of kins, reported the Guardian citing Malaysia`s BFM Radio.
  • To facilitate the transport of the victim`s bodies, an Australian C-17 military transport aircraft will arrive in the Netherlands later today and help carry the bodies out of Ukraine, reported the ABC news.
  • Operation bring them Home would be coordinated by Angus Houston, the same official who was assigned the marathon task of coordinating MH370 recovery.
  • Australian PM Tony Abbott today announced `Operation Bring Them Home`, that would embark on the painstaking task of identification and repatriation of victims bodies to their native places.

    The operation would be coordinated from Ukraine by former Australian Defence Force chief Retired Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, reported the ABC news.

  • As the bodies have left the rebel-held area, the Ukrainian parliament today approved a presidential decree calling for more military reserves and men under 50 to fight rebels in eastern Ukraine. The Ukraine government`s move comes in response to a buildup of Russian troops on the border, reported the Reuters.
  • The bodies of the MH17 crash victims started their journey home finally as they left the rebel-held territory in Donetsk for Kharkiv. The train with remains of victims stored in its refrigerated wagons arrived in Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, reported the BBC.
  • According to the reports, 282 bodies as well as recovered body parts are loaded on the train wagons that will shortly reach Kharkiv in Ukraine. 

    Also Read: `Ukraine train carrying MH17 bodies arrives in govt-held Kharkiv`

  • In a statement, the Russian Foreign Ministry hailed the UN resolution adding that the probe must not show "prejudice in defining the possible culprits in the disaster or anticipation of any results of the investigation".
  • Russia on Tuesday offered to contribute to the international investigation into the downing of the plane, saying that it was ready to cooperate fully and could also provide specialists.

    "Russia is ready to give such an investigation comprehensive help including providing the necessary specialists," the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement.

    Also Read: Russia offers `comprehensive help` to Malaysia jet crash probe

  • Australian PM Abbott also gave credit to Russian President Vladimir Putin for living up to his words "in last 24 hours". Abbott`s comments came after the rebels handed over the black boxes of the crashed Malaysian jet to the experts and the victims bodies were on their way to Amsterdam.

    Abbott had earlier warned Russia against "washing its hands off" the crash.

  • Reiterating that the crash site had been tampered wit, Australian PM Tony Abbott on Tuesday said that it was a "cover-up" attempt, saying "What we have seen is evidence tampering on an industrial scale. That has to stop."

    "After the crime comes the cover-up," Abbott told reporters at Canberra.

    Also Read: `Industrial scale` tampering of evidence at MH17 site: Australia

  • British PM David Cameron has reiterated that "hard-hitting" sanctions should be clamped on Russia if it doesn`t change its approach towards Ukraine.
  • A European Union foreign ministers meeting in Brussels later today, is set to discuss further widening of sanctions against Russia over MH17 crash.
  • Meanwhile, the train carrying the victims` remains has left from Donetsk for Kharkiv, which is under the control of Ukraine`s government.

    From Kharkiv, the remains will be flown to Amsterdam aboard a Dutch C-130 Hercules, reports say.

  • While handing over the black boxes, the self-declared rebel Prime Minister in Donetsk Alexander Borodai said that the boxes will “reveal the truth”. The rebels deny shooting down the plane.
  • Reports say that the flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder (known as the black boxes) of the crashed planed MH17 was handed over to the experts from Malaysia by the rebels on early Tuesday morning.

    Four days after the plane was downed, rebels have finally handed over the black boxes to Malaysian experts and allowed the bodies of the victims to be taken to the Netherlands.

    The rebels stance changed after the UN Security Council adopted a resolution Monday demanding full access to the crash site and condemning the downing of the plane. The resolution was unanimously approved by the council.

    The Malaysia Airlines Boeing-777 flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, was shot down on Thursday, July 17, killing all 298 people aboard.

    The passenger jet that was flying 10,000 meters above eastern Ukraine war zone, -was reportedly shot by a surface-to-air Buk missile, that was given to the rebels by Russia, a US official

    The Western governments like Germany, France, Britain and the US have been indirectly hinting at Russia backing the rebels who allegedly shot down the plane.

    The US has also talked about having seen enough circumstantial evidence concluding Russia`s role.
    The evidences include telephone calls between the rebels and someone in Russia, intercepted by Ukraine and video of three Buk missiles travelling back to Russia just hours after the plane was shot down.

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