Europe

MH17 crash: Debris leaves rebel-held eastern Ukraine

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Media captionAviation expert Paul Beaver: "One of the concerns of the investigators is that they won't get everything they should have had"

Wreckage from the site where Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crashed has arrived from rebel-held east Ukraine to the government-run city of Kharkiv.

The pieces were transported by train, overseen by Dutch experts.

The debris and unidentified human remains will then be taken to the Netherlands for examination.

MH17 was shot down in July, killing all 298 people on board - mostly Dutch nationals. Russia-backed rebels have been blamed, though they deny it.

The exact cause of the crash in eastern Ukraine has not been established.

Lack of security at the crash site, near the village of Grabove, led to weeks of delays, but a deal made with local militias eventually allowed the removal work to begin.

Image caption Parts of the plane were found 8km (5 miles) from the main debris site

Victims not found

The Dutch experts have said they do not intend to recover all of the wreckage, concentrating, instead, on the wheels, wings and fuel tanks - the area of the plane where most of the unidentified passengers were seated.

Nine of the victims are still unaccounted for.

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Media captionNew amateur footage purports to show the immediate aftermath of the MH17 crash

A spokesman for the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) mission in Ukraine, Michael Bociurkiw, told the BBC there was a lot of relief now the train was out of rebel-help areas - "the result of quite complex negotiations with rebel groups".

Mr Bociurkiw said there were pieces of fuselage that had been left behind.

"This is an active conflict zone, the operation was very complex, very difficult, so we have good days and bad days in terms of being able to get people in there and wreckage and human remains and personal belongings out."

The plane was hit as it flew from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.

Ukraine and Western countries have accused pro-Russian rebels of shooting the plane down with a Russian-made missile, an accusation which Russia denies.

The Dutch government has taken the lead in the investigation.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Access to the crash site has been limited by the ongoing conflict in Ukraine
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Investigators plan to reconstruct part of the aircraft

In September, a preliminary report by Dutch investigators concluded the plane was hit by a large number of "high-energy objects", but did not blame anyone.

The disaster came just months after another Malaysia Airlines plane, MH370, vanished en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.


298 victims from 10 countries

  • Netherlands: 196
  • Malaysia: 42
  • Australia: 27
  • Indonesia: 11
  • UK: 10
  • Belgium: 4
  • Germany: 3
  • Philippines: 3
  • Canada: 1
  • New Zealand: 1

What we know