MH17 flight wreckage removal begins in Ukraine

MH17 flight wreckage removal begins in Ukraine

Work has begun to remove wreckage from the MH17 crash site in rebel-held eastern Ukraine after months of delays, Dutch officials say.

The Malaysian Airlines plane, which was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, was shot down over Ukraine in July. All 298 people on board were killed.

Workers could be seen cutting up parts of the plane and using cranes to load them onto lorries.

Access had previously been limited by rebels and the conflict in Ukraine.

The recovery operation was expected to take several days, the Dutch Safety Board said, and the debris will be transported to the Netherlands for investigation.

The wreckage would assist “the investigation into the cause of the crash”, the board said in a statement, adding that it intended to reconstruct a section of the aircraft.

Alexander Kostrubitsky, the emergency services chief in the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic, said that more human remains had been discovered under the wreckage, AP news agency reported.

Access to the crash site has been limited by the ongoing conflict in Ukraine

 Investigators plan to reconstruct part of the aircraft

Teams from Donetsk’s emergency ministry are collecting the debris, under the supervision of Dutch officials.

The Dutch inspectors initially wanted to retrieve the debris themselves, but agreed to work with the local emergency ministry as they feared for the safety of their staff in the conflict area, Reuters news agency reported.

Dutch Safety Board spokesman Wim van der Weegen told reporters that because the crash area was large, his team did not intend to recover all the wreckage.

The board had identified the most important pieces of debris for the inquiry and would prioritise their recovery, he added.

A majority of those who died in the disaster were from the Netherlands and the Dutch government has taken the lead in the investigation.

Dutch experts had arrived at the crash site, near the village of Grabove, early on Tuesday, but were unable to begin salvage efforts because no deal had been reached with local rebel groups.

Although investigators have yet to establish the exact cause of the crash, Ukraine and Western countries accuse pro-Russian rebels of shooting the plane down with a Russian-made missile, an accusation which Russia denies.

Much of the G20 leaders summit, which closed on Sunday, focused on Russian leader Vladimir Putin’s position on the Ukraine conflict, with the US, UK and Canadian leaders criticising Mr Putin.

Source: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-30073283

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