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Dutch team at MH17 crash site recovers more remains

Monday, February 2, 2015 - 23:42

[THE HAGUE] A Dutch team recovered more body parts at the MH17 crash site in war-torn Ukraine, where 298 were killed when a Malaysia Airlines jetliner crashed in July, officials said on Monday.

"They recovered a small amount of human remains of the victims," Dutch defence ministry spokeswoman Marloes Visser said.

"Personal belongings and wreckage found by local residents were also recovered," Mr Visser said in a statement.

Most of those on board the Boeing 777 when it was shot down over eastern Ukraine on July 17 were Dutch, and just three of the dead have yet to be identified by forensics experts in the Netherlands.

Experts hope the latest remains will help with the identification of the final three, Dutch news reports said.

The remains will be flown back to the Netherlands on Saturday, Mr Visser said.

The team have maintained close contact with the mayor of the town of Grabovo, scene of the crash in eastern Ukraine and plans to visit other towns on Tuesday "should the security situation and weather allow."

Their job has been complicated by heavy fighting in the nearby key Ukrainian town of Debaltseve, in the escalating conflict in the east of the country that has left at least 5,100 people dead since April.

Mr Visser said the Dutch team "is not armed as they aren't part of the conflict".

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.

Dutch experts last year repatriated parts of the plane to be reconstructed as part of a probe into what caused the crash.

The Netherlands has also kept a small permanent team in Kharkiv over the last few months.

AFP

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