181 bodies recovered from MH17 crash site in Ukraine

Kuala Lumpur/Kiev, Jul 18: Rescue workers have so far recovered 181 bodies scattered over a vast area in eastern Ukraine even as pro-Russia rebels on Friday said they have recovered the black boxes from the wreckage of the Malaysian plane blown up by a missile, killing all 298 people on board.

Pro-Russia rebels have claimed to have recovered the black box of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 and had announced that they are planning to have it moved to Moscow for examination, Russian news agency Interfax reported. Ukraine Foreign Ministry said 181 bodies have been located which are scattered over a vast stretch of farmland, so far at the crash site.

The ministry cited local emergency workers at the site for the numbers today. It said the bodies will be taken to Kharkiv, a government-controlled city 270 kilometers north of the crash site, for identification. The Ukrainian government and the pro-Russian separatists in the east of the country have blamed each other for the alleged shooting down of the plane yesterday.

Pro-Russian rebels have agreed to give international investigators access to the crash site and allow the recovery of bodies. "Rebels in eastern Ukraine will continue fighting in all areas except for the site of the Malaysian plane crash site," a rebel commander was quoted as saying by the RIA Novosti.

The Boeing 777 – carrying 298 people – was en route from Amsterdam to the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lampur, when it crashed yesterday in eastern Ukraine, near the Russian border.

The 15-member crew was from Malaysia and included two ethnic Indians, Sanjib Singh Sandhu, 41, and Angeline Premila Rajandran, 30. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko accused "terrorists" of downing the jet, referring to pro-Russian separatists.

"Terrorists have killed almost 300 persons with one shot," Poroshenko said.

"Among them are women, children, citizens of different countries of the world. However, Russian defense ministry said it had picked up radar unit activity from a Ukrainian-controlled 'Buk' missile system on the day the Malaysian airliner crashed. 


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