Wreckage of MH17 arrives in Netherlands

The first two convoys -- each comprising four trucks -- with wreckage of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 that crashed in eastern Ukraine in July arrived at the Dutch air force base Gilze-Rijenin North Brabant province Tuesday just after 2 p.m.

IANS| Updated: Dec 09, 2014, 21:50 PM IST

The Hague: The first two convoys -- each comprising four trucks -- with wreckage of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 that crashed in eastern Ukraine in July arrived at the Dutch air force base Gilze-Rijenin North Brabant province Tuesday just after 2 p.m.

The first convoy of trucks left the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv Wednesday last week and crossed the German-Dutch border Monday night. They passed around 40 relatives of the victims, who were present in an area designed especially for them at the airbase.

Unlike the arrival of the remains of the victims at Eindhoven Air Base earlier, the arrival of the wreckage was not marked by any ceremony, according to Xinhua.

The relatives were not permitted to be present during the opening or unloading of the trucks. At a later stage, they will have the opportunity to see the wreckage.

The parts of the aircraft will be photographed, scanned and categorised, following which the investigation of the wreckage and preparation for the reconstruction effort will start.

In the beginning of next year, parts of the aircraft will be reconstructed, also as part of the investigation into the cause of the crash.

A designated hangar at the air force base has been cleared especially for the investigation of the wreckage. Here, investigating teams led by the Dutch Safety Board will investigate the cause of the crash.

At the same time, investigation teams of the police will conduct a criminal investigation in the same hangar under the management of the Dutch Public Prosecution Service.

"The investigations by the Dutch Safety Board and the Public Prosecution Service will be conducted separately and independently of each other," the Safety Board stated. "As it is vital to both investigations that the wreckage can be examined, agreements have been made."

With the arrival at Gilze-Rijen, two of the four convoys carrying wreckage have now reached their destination. The other two convoys are still on their way and are expected to arrive in the Netherlands during the course of this week.

The Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur when it crashed July 17 this year, killing all 298 people on board, including 193 Dutch nationals.

The Boeing 777 aircraft crashed in a region of the eastern Ukraine where clashes between the pro-Russian separatist militias and government forces were taking place.

Ukrainian authorities have accused the pro-Russian militias of shooting down the plane with a missile, while the separatists deny having weapons capable of shooting planes out of the sky.