Investigators examining MH17 victims

Updated: 2014-07-22 07:32

By Agencies in Torez and Kiev, Ukraine (China Daily USA)

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Dutch investigators on Monday inspected bodies recovered from downed passenger airliner MH17. The bodies had been loaded onto refrigerated train cars in rebel-controlled east Ukraine.

An overpowering stench emanated as each of the cars, which together hold more than 200 corpses, was opened and examined by two men wearing masks.

"I think the storage of the bodies is good," Peter van Vliet, the forensic expert leading the Dutch team, said after examining the corpses.

The expert, speaking as 50 armed insurgents looked on, said his team would head to the main crash site about 15 kilometers away.

The investigators were accompanied by a team of international monitors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe who have been visiting the crash site over the past few days.

In the Netherlands, Prime Minister Mark Rutte said the priority is to move the bodies to Kiev-controlled territory.

"The first aim is to get the trains out and let them go to Ukrainian-controlled territory, preferably Kharkiv," Rutte said, referring to a major city some 300 km away that has remained firmly in Kiev's hands.

"The separatists have said that international observers must be present when the train leaves. ... The Dutch experts are international observers. ... They can fulfill that role," Rutte said.

"We want our people back."

Ukraine and rebels in the east have accused each other of shooting down the passenger plane with a surface-to-air missile on Thursday as it flew from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.

All on board - 283 passengers and 15 crew - were killed.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk said the remains of about 250 of the bodies had been recovered and moved to train cars, and they could be transferred to the Netherlands.

About two-thirds of the crash victims were Dutch.

But the bodies are in rebel-held territory near the city of Donetsk where intense shelling broke out again on Monday.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Moscow would do "everything in its power" to resolve the Ukrainian conflict and to open access to the site.

Two experts from the German air accident investigations authority have arrived in Kiev and are trying to make their way to the crash site, a spokesman for the authority said on Monday. Four Germans were among those killed.


 Investigators examining MH17 victims

A rebel militant stands guard near a piece of the wreckage of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, near the village of Hrabove, in the region of Donetsk, Ukraine, on Sunday. Bulent Kilic / Agence France-Presse

(China Daily USA 07/22/2014 page1)