MH17 Crash Site Search: Dutch Teams Finally Allowed Access To Recover Remains

The Malaysian Airlines MH17 crash site search still needs to be completed, and it seems that Dutch authorities are finally in position to finally make it happen. The plane went down on July 17 with many Dutch nationals on board. Due to the volatile nature of the area, authorities had yet to be able to fully access the area until now.

According to Reuters, an agreement has now been reached between the Ukrainian and Dutch officials regarding the MH17 crash site search. Given the new agreement in place, teams started working in the area again on Monday. Ongoing fighting between Ukrainian government forces and pro-Russian separatists in the area of the crash had kept teams away for the most part, until now.

There were 298 passengers and crew members on the Malaysian Airlines MH17 flight when it crashed in the Ukraine on July 17. About two-thirds of those passengers were Dutch nationals. While forensics teams in the Netherlands have been able to identify 272 plane crash victims, they believe there are more remains and an array of belongings still at the plane crash site.

Though Dutch experts have been ready and waiting to complete the MH17 crash site search, until now they have only been given access to a small area of the debris. As the Daily Mail notes, looters have taken many of the passenger’s belongings in the months since the Malaysian Airlines jet crashed. Items the looters didn’t care about are still scattered throughout the crash site. Unfortunately, there are said to be a number of bodies still in the area as well.

The crash site searchers still have to deal with safety issues, as artillery fire between pro-Russian separatists and Ukrainian troops can be heard nearby despite a ceasefire. The flight is believed to have been shot down by a surface-to-air missle that was fired by separatists in the area. The flight had been traveling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte recently said that he is furious that investigators have been kept back from the MH17 crash site search. Both the Russian and Ukrainian sides continue to deny responsibility and point fingers over who was responsible. While it may well be that nobody is ever held responsible for the heartbreaking tragedy, at least progress is being made in the MH17 crash site search so that remains can be recovered, identified and returned to family members.

[Image via Straits Times]

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