MH17 crash debris finally retrieved for analysis, more human remains recovered

Local workers carry wreckage from the downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 at the site of the plane crash near the village of Hrabove (Grabovo) in Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine November 16, 2014.

Dutch investigators have begun evacuating debris of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 from the crash site in eastern Ukraine. Human rights activists are addressing the UN and OSCE, warning the investigation is being either delayed on purpose or suppressed.

More human remains have been recovered by experts during the latest debris retrieval operation at the crash site, the Dutch government reported. The remains will be transported to the Ukrainian city of Kharkov for further examination, before being sent to the Netherlands as part of the investigation.

Estimated to last from five to 10 days, the recovery is partial, as investigators have opted to mark only those pieces of debris they are interested in, leaving the rest behind. The works are being supervised by the Dutch Safety Board investigators and observed by the OSCE.

Local emergency workers of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) are using cranes to load up large fragments of the Boeing 777 on trucks to take them to the nearby Torez railway station, where the debris is unloaded on to the platforms. After the wreckage is shipped to the Netherlands through Kharkov, the fragments will reconstruct parts of the Boeing in order to find out what kind of weapon caused the catastrophe.

A detailed analysis of the crashed Boeing debris could help establish how exactly the plane was brought down.

Authorities of the village of Grabovo, near which the debris fell, have already handed a number of personal items to investigators, including passports and credit cards retrieved by the locals.

Dutch investigators and an Emergencies Ministry member work at the site where the downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crashed, near the village of Hrabove (Grabovo) in Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine November 16, 2014.

Immediately after MH17 crashed on July 17, investigators could not reach the site for some time because of the high-intensity combat ongoing in the region between the Ukrainian Army and self-defense forces of the DPR.

Even after the investigation teams were allowed to work on the crash site, the area suffered repeated shelling, preventing investigative activities from proceeding and damaging evidence.

The Dutch investigators published a preliminary report in September, which said that the plane crashed “as the result of structural damage caused by a large number of high-energy objects that penetrated the aircraft from outside.”

Dutch experts supervise a crew from the emergency ministry of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic as they break up and load parts of the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 onto the back of a lorry at the crash site near the village of Grabove, in eastern Ukraine, on November 16, 2014.

n late October the chief Dutch prosecutor investigating the MH17 downing in eastern Ukraine did not exclude the possibility that the Boeing may have been shot down from the air, Der Spiegel reported.

Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 was on its way from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur when it was shot down by as-yet unknown means in the sky over eastern Ukraine. The debris fell to earth some 60km from the Russian-Ukrainian border. All 298 passengers and crew aboard died, among them 196 Dutch citizens.

Russian human rights activists have addressed the UN, claiming that the investigation of the MH17 crash has been intentionally suppressed.

Georgy Fedorov, member of the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation, believes the tragedy of MH17 is being deferred on purpose and that the slow pace of investigation speaks towards that.

“We’ve addressed all [possible] organizations to form an international commission based on the UN and OSCE to investigate the crash, but there’s no result so far,” Fedorov told RIA Novosti, pointing out that authorities of the DPR have always been ready to let experts freely work at the crash site.

“Looks like somebody wants to hush up the story, once they failed to put the blame for it on Russia,” Fedorov said, promising to make the Public Chamber address the UN and Ukrainian government to bring the investigation to an end without delay.

On the contrary, the chairman of the Russian president’s Human Rights Council, Mikhail Fedotov, believes there’s no need speed up the investigation.

“We’re ready to wait patiently for the results,” Fedotov said, as cited by RIA Novosti, urging that experts not be rushed, because the world community and the civil society of the countries that lost their citizens in the crash expect “not politicized, but objective and authoritative conclusions from the experts.”