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MH17: 70 international experts search Ukraine crash site for bodies

Author: Ayre от 3.08.2014, 04:36
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Kiev, Ukraine (CNN) -- The grisly search for human remains from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 entered a new phase Friday, as the largest group yet of international experts scoured the crash site in eastern Ukraine.

In total, 70 Dutch and Australian experts reached the scene, many more than had made it there previously in the two weeks since the crash, in which 298 people lost their lives.
The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, whose monitors escorted the experts on their difficult mission, said via Twitter that "substantial recovery efforts" had been made.
"We are happy that we can make sure that these corpses can now be transported to the Netherlands," said Pieter-Jaap Aalbersberg, head of the Dutch recovery mission.
"We hope that this will bring some solace for the next of kin. It is a relief for our people that they have now started their work."
Friday's visit to the site has been completed and all human remains found will be brought back, the Dutch Ministry of Security and Justice said in a statement. The Netherlands is leading the international investigation.
Over the past two days, the international team has taken a different route to reach the crash site, after days of fighting between Ukraine's military and pro-Russia rebels prevented their access.
High-level negotiations with both sides made it possible for the experts' convoy of vehicles to cross and recross the front lines to approach from the north, helped by a brief break in the hostilities in the area.
Aalbersberg said the recovery team is now on its way to a new base in the town of Soledar, to the northwest of the rural location in eastern Ukraine where MH17 came down on July 17, strewing debris across a huge area.
The mission will still have personnel in the cities of Kharkiv and Donetsk, the latter a rebel stronghold that has seen fighting this week.
Second victim identified
On Thursday, when just four experts made it to the site alongside eight monitors, they marked locations where they spotted human remains, OSCE spokesman Michael Bociurkiw said.
He said then that they might use cadaver dogs and aerial surveillance to search the scene when they returned Friday.
"This all goes back to time is of the essence," he told CNN's Anderson Cooper late Thursday. "Everyone realizes that time is no longer on our side, that this investigation has to kick-start into high gear right away."
Many coffins holding remains -- collected in the first week after the disaster -- already have been flown to the Netherlands, where the Malaysia Airlines flight originated.
There, in the city of Hilversum, more than 200 forensic specialists are working to identify the individual victims from the remains found.
The Dutch Ministry of Security and Justice said Friday that the identity of a second victim had been confirmed. The relatives of the victim, a Dutch citizen, have been informed, as has victim's local mayor, the statement said.
The painstaking and heartbreaking task of identifying every victim could take months, the Dutch authorities have warned. About two-thirds of those killed were Dutch, with Malaysians and Australians making up a large proportion of the others.
As many as 80 bodies could still be lying in the fields of eastern Ukraine where the passenger jet crashed, Australia's Foreign Minister Julie Bishop told CNN on Thursday.
"But we won't know until our investigative teams are on the site and combing the crash site for remains," Bishop said. "And that's the grisly and sobering task that they must undertake from now on."
Ukraine's parliament approved agreements Thursday that allow international personnel from countries that had citizens on Flight 17 to work at the crash site. Up to 700 of them can be armed.

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