EINDHOVEN: Six more coffins carrying body parts of victims from downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 arrived in the Netherlands from Ukraine on Friday (Nov 28), with nine victims of the July disaster still unidentified.
A Dutch Air Force C-130 transport plane arrived at an airfield in the southern city of Eindhoven after leaving Kharkiv in eastern Ukraine.
The coffins were loaded into six hearses at a ceremony attended by Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, before heading for a forensic research facility in Hilversum where the process of identifying the victims is taking place.
The Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 was blown out of the sky on Jul 17 over Ukrainian rebel-held territory, killing all 298 people on board, including 193 Dutch citizens.
The Dutch-led probe team has so far identified 289 of the victims and is set to transport the wreckage of the plane by road to the Netherlands for further investigation. But nine victims remained unidentified as recovery work at the crash site shut down for the winter.
Ukraine and the West accuse Russia of supplying pro-Kremlin insurgents with the missile that shot down the jet but Moscow and the separatists deny they were responsible and have instead pointed the finger at Kiev.
Dutch and Ukrainian officials earlier on Friday held a memorial ceremony at the airport in Kharkiv for the last batch of human remains to be transported this year.
Kharkiv governor Igor Baluta said the debris of the downed jet would be loaded onto trucks for transportation Saturday and depart from eastern Ukraine in the near future. Searches would resume again in March, Baluta said.
Dutch justice ministry spokesman Jean Fransman told AFP: “It’s probably not the last time that human remains will be returned from the crash site. There are some areas where we’ve not searched yet.”