1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

Rebels to hand over bodies, boxes

July 21, 2014

The Malaysian prime minister has said that rebels in eastern Ukraine have agreed to hand over bodies of the victims of last week's plane crash to the Netherlands. He also said they would hand over the black boxes.

MH17 Waggons Separatisten 21.07.2014
Image: Getty Images

Four days after the crash of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, the investigation into what caused the crash began to make some tangible progress on Monday.

Malaysian Prime Miniter Najib Razak said in a televised statement that he had received assurance from the prime minister of the self-styled Donetsk People's Republic, Alexander Borodai, that the remains of the 282 people recovered from the wreckage of the plane would be handed over to a Dutch team.

The bodies, which are being stored in refrigerated train carriages, were to be transported from the town of Torez to the government-held city of Kharkiv. They were then in turn to be flown to the Netherlands for further investigation.

In his statement, Prime Minister Razak, who was actually speaking early on Tuesday local time, also said Borodai had promised that the Boeing 777's two black boxes would be given to a Malaysian team and that international investigators would "be guaranteed safe access" to begin their work in earnest.

Bodies examined

Earlier on Monday, a Dutch team of investigators were able to examine the recovered bodies for the first time.

"I am very impressed about the work that was done over here. I think they did a hell of a job in a hell of a place," Peter van Vliet, the head of the Dutch investigation team said after they were shown the bodies in the refrigerated carriages.

He also said they wanted to get the bodies back to the Netherlands as soon as possible. There was also a report late on Monday that the train was on the move, but its destination was not clear.

Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crashed last Thursday in rebel-held territory in eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 people aboard en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. Almost 200 of those killed were Dutch citizens.

Several reports have suggested that it was shot down by a missile, though this has not been proven.

pfd/mg(Reuters, dpa, AFP)