UK & World News

  • 20 July 2014, 22:38

Rebels Load MH17 Crash Bodies On To Trains

Armed pro-Russian separatists have reportedly forced emergency workers to hand over all the bodies recovered from the Malaysia Airlines crash site.

International monitors and Ukrainian officials said the bodies of 192 victims were taken away and loaded onto refrigerator wagons on trains at Torez station, which were said to be headed for rebel-held Donetsk.

Kiev's emergency officials said 251 bodies had been recovered so far, while separatists said the jet's two black box voice and data recorders had been found and taken to the eastern Ukrainian city where they would be handed over to the international aviation authority.

The Dutch Prime Minister, Mark Rutte, said the delay in repatriating bodies was "unacceptable" and that he wanted the trains to travel to Ukrainian government territory.

He added international forensic experts will reach the crash site on Monday.

It comes as footage emerged showing evidence that one flight recorder had been recovered at the scene, two days ago.

In addition, Ukrainian security services released audio recordings of what they claimed were rebels talking about trying to hide the black boxes at Moscow's request.

World leaders have piled pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin to stop the armed Moscow-backed rebels from preventing investigators from fully accessing the MH17 crash site.

British Prime Minister David Cameron said Europe and the West must "fundamentally change our approach" unless Mr Putin altered his stance.

In a phone call with Mr Putin, the Prime Minister said the delays and restrictions surrounding the MH17 crash site were "completely unacceptable and indefensible".

US Secretary of State John Kerry has said the downing of the plane is "a wake-up call for Putin".

The prospect of further sanctions against Russia was raised as public anger and concerns grow over claims of looting and evidence being tampered with.

The US has condemned the lack of security at the scene as an "affront to all those who lost loved ones and to the dignity the victims deserve", while Malaysia has attacked the failure to preserve evidence as a "betrayal of the lives lost".

The Ukraine government has accused pro-Russian separatists of removing bodies from the crash scene and attempting to destroy evidence.

Sky presenter Colin Brazier, at the scene, said: "I've been walking around, coming across body parts all the time, many of them charred beyond recognition.

"Men, women and children, indeterminate frankly, you can't tell. Very often you are looking at charred spines, that's all that's left.

"There are flies. It is hot. There are stretchers lying by the roadside. They have not been used because many of the bodies were dismembered by the forces of the impact."

All 298 people on board were killed when jet was brought down near Grabovo, Donetsk, where Ukrainian forces have been battling separatists.

Kiev and Moscow have blamed each other for the air disaster.