Plane with MH17 bodies leaves for Netherlands
Posted on Jul 23 2014 | IANS
Kiev, July 23 : The first plane carrying the remains of the victims of the crashed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 took off Wednesday from the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv for the Netherlands.
The military plane, which is heading for the city of Eindhoven, is carrying the bodies of 16 victims and is due to arrive at 4 p.m., when it will be met by members of the Dutch royal family, Xinhua reported.
Before the departure, a mourning ceremony was held at Kharkiv airport, attended by Ukrainian officials and representatives of embassies of the Netherlands, Canada, Britain, Indonesia, Australia, Malaysia and the US.
During the ceremony, Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman expressed his condolences and sympathy to the families who have lost their loved ones in the tragedy.
"On behalf of the president, the prime minister, the government and the whole Ukrainian people, I appeal to the relatives of the flight MH17 passengers, asking to accept our deepest condolences. We grieve with you," Groysman said.
He voiced his country's commitment to making every effort to find out the cause of the disaster and bring the perpetrators to justice.
Flight MH17, while flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, crashed last Thursday in the Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine, killing all 283 passengers and 15 crew on board. The dead included 193 Dutch nationals.
Reports indicated that the Boeing 777 crashed after being hit by a missile. US President Barack Obama said initial investigations showed that the missile was fired from an area in Ukraine controlled by anti-Kiev militants.
Although the Ukrainian government has said the search operation at the crash site has been completed, some international monitors argued that there was evidence of missing human remains in the area.