Small investigative team finally allowed access to MH17 wreckage

World Today

Small investigative team just now accessing downed MH17 wreckageA man looks at debris scattered at the crash site of the downed Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, in a field near the village of Grabove, in the Donetsk region, on July 23, 2014. ( Photo: AFP/Bulent Kilic)

Two more transport planes arrived in the Netherlands Thursday carrying the remains of the victims of Flight MH17 from eastern Ukraine. While the process of identification gets underway for the recovered bodies, some remains are still missing. Little can currently be done to search for more bodies due to security concerns hindeings the investigation teams. CCTV-America’s Tony Cheng reports.

Eastern Ukraine: Access to MH17 crime scene

Tony Cheng reports from eastern Ukraine, where the active investigation is underway. Investigators are finally getting more access to the scene.

The crash site is now one of the largest crime scenes in the world, with wreckage spread over more than 15 square kilometers (just under six square miles). At this stage, one week from the shoot down, just a handful of investigators are there to examine the evidence.

Small investigative team just now accessing downed MH17 wreckage

Two more transport planes have arrived in the Netherlands from eastern Ukraine carrying remains of the victims of Flight MH17. While the process of identification gets underway for the recovered bodies, some remains are still missing, although very little is being done to search for more bodies as security concerns still hinders the investigation teams. CCTV's Tony Cheng reports.

The search must go on –98 bodies remain unaccounted for.

“Our efforts here are to ensure the dignity of the dead, the dignified management of the dead and the fulfillment of the rights of the families,” said Oran Finnegan, Deputy Head of Forensic Services with the International Red Cross. “We call on all concerned stakeholders to ensure that this work takes place in a timely manner by professional teams, in line with best practice.”

Progress has been slow. Although rebel fighters who had previously halted access are now cooperating, their presence is more of a hindrance than a help — they are suspects in the crime, but also stand guard over the evidence.

But despite clear tampering with the wreckage, investigators are still finding significant clues.

“Some of the materials we saw and that we have photographed feature significant puncture marks to the fuselage, almost a piercing mark,” said OSCE spokesman Michael Bociurkiw.”We are not aviation experts, we are not forensic experts, but this is something we felt that needed to be carefully photographed and documented.”

Even so, careful documentation is not being done, and cannot be until the area is secured. Currently, all that secures the scene is a thin line of plastic tape.

For the travelers who packed aboard this crowded airliner one week ago, there was no inkling their journey would end here. For the families and loved ones left behind, there is still a desperate desire to see their deaths properly investigated, and their remains laid to rest.