The Hague – Dutch experts on Sunday completed the recovery of wreckage from the crash site of downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in eastern Ukraine and have sent it to a government-controlled city en route for the Netherlands
“[Transport of] the recovered wreckage from flight MH17 is under way towards Kharkiv,” by train, the Dutch Safety Board (OVV) said in a statement.
Trucks carrying larger pieces of wreckage drove to Kharkiv on Saturday, it added.
Dutch experts, charged with body part recovery and also leading the probe into the 17 July crash that killed all 298 people on board, are to reconstruct parts of the doomed Boeing 777 in the Netherlands as part of their investigation.
“When the wreckage has arrived in Kharkiv, transportation to the Netherlands will be prepared,” the OVV said.
“At this point it cannot be said when and in what way this transport will be carried out.”
Kiev and the West have claimed that the airliner was shot down in the conflict-torn area by separatist fighters using a BUK surface-to-air missile supplied by Russia. Moscow denies the charges, pointing the finger at Kiev.
So far 289 victims had been identified through body parts recovered from the site, but no wreckage had yet been retrieved due to safety issues.
Most of the victims on the flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur were Dutch nationals.
Investigators began the removal operation a week ago under the auspices of monitors from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) amid fears that full-scale fighting could break out again in the area.
“Despite the complex circumstances and local safety situation, the team was able to work as planned under the guidance of the OSCE,” the Dutch Safety Board said, hailing good cooperation from “local services”.
Some debris not considered useful to the investigation was left at the site, the OVV said, and would be picked up by local services.
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