UK & World News

  • 22 August 2014, 14:53

Malaysia Mourns As MH17 Bodies Flown Home

Malaysia has observed a day of mourning as the bodies of MH17 plane crash victims arrived home to the country.

Some 43 Malaysians died when the passenger plane was shot down over eastern Ukraine on July 17, but some victims have yet to be identified by forensic experts in the Netherlands.

The remains of 20 - including three babies - were flown from Amsterdam to Sepang in coffins draped in the Malaysian flag.

A ceremony was held on the tarmac at Kuala Lumpur International Airport, with relatives in attendance alongside King Sultan Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah and Prime Minister Najib Razak.

Millions of Malaysians observed a minute's silence, while the government urged citizens to wear black.

The Malaysian Prime Minister tweeted: "No words can express the sense of loss in seeing the bodies return, my prayers are with the victims and families of #MH17."

Malaysian Airlines staff at the ceremony wore T-shirts bearing the names of the 15 colleagues who were on board.

One, who gave his name only as Shazly, said: "Life has to go on, even though it's very difficult for us to accept what has happened to our airline. They are our friends."

The remains included Ariza Ghazalee, 46, and her son Muhammad Afif, 18 - part of an entire family of six wiped out in the disaster.

The coffins were carried to hearses by teams of eight soldiers before being taken to private funerals in their hometowns.

All 298 people on board Amsterdam-Kuala Lumpur flight MH17 were killed.

The West accuses Russian-backed separatists of shooting down the plane, while Moscow blames Ukraine.

The crash occurred just four months after the still-unexplained disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.

Advertisement