Experts have had limited access to the crash site of the Malaysia Airlines flight (MH17) that was blown out of the sky by a missile, causing it to crash in the Ukraine.
Since they are not able to cover the full crash site, pro-Russian separatist militiamen have reportedly seized custody of nearly 200 victims’ remains from the destroyed jet.
According to the NY Times, emergency responders from the Ukraine have been able to recover just 196 bodies from the site out of the 298 that were on board.
The site reports:
But the responders were forced to turn the bodies over to the separatists, Andriy Lysenko, a spokesman for the Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council, said at a briefing in Kiev on Sunday. Mr. Lysenko said officials believed that 38 of those bodies were taken to the morgue in Donetsk, a regional capital that is controlled by separatists.
Michael Bociurkiw, the leader of an observer mission from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (O.S.C.E.), said that most of the bodies had been placed in three refrigerated railroad cars in the town of Torez, not far from the crash site. He said that monitors were told that 167 bodies were in the cars, which were locked but under the control of rebels from the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic, one of the main separatist groups.
Some experts have been able to see the bodies in the cars, but only for a brief inspection. They revealed that the bodies were in bags that had tags on them.
The U.S. has expressed a lot of concern over the crash site being tampered with and dealt with inappropriately, as potential evidence might be removed.
We will keep you updated on this terrible tragedy as more details surface.
SOURCE: NY Times | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty