Ukrainian investigators find 196 bodies at MH17 crash site

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MH 17 crash
Kiev/Kuala Lumpur, July 20: Ukrainian investigators have found 196 bodies at the crash site where a Malaysian passenger plane carrying 298 people was brought down by a missile in pro-Russia rebels-held eastern part of the country.

The Ukrainian State Emergency Service (SES) today said 380 staff were taking part in the search that stretches across 34 sq km of eastern Ukraine. But the search was being complicated by separatists at the site who were hindering the work of SES units, the CNN reported, citing SES officials.

The Boeing 777 was on a scheduled flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur and it had not made a distress call. It is still not clear if the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 was shot down purposely or mistakenly on Thursday. All 298 people on board were killed in the crash.

Latest figures released by Malaysia Airlines show the plane was carrying 192 Dutch nationals, 44 Malaysians (including 15 crew), 27 Australians, 12 Indonesians and 10 Britons, four Germans, four Belgians, three from the Philippines, and one each from Canada and New Zealand.

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.

Earlier, the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) said it had doubts over the number of bodies recovered from the downed MH17 or where they were taken or who moved them.

Michael Bociurkiw, a spokesman for observers from of the OSCE, told CNN the group saw men moving an unknown number of body bags yesterday, but that it wasn't clear who they were.

It's hard to get reliable information because several groups of pro-Russian rebels, some of them masked, control the area, he said, adding "there doesn't seem to be one commander in charge."

Three air crash investigators from Ukraine accompanied the OSCE observers but they didn't have much time to do their work, he said. "They need a lot more time and a lot more freedom of access."

PTI

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