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MH17 CRASH: Malaysian team gets down to work

Publication Date : 24-07-2014


While the fighting between the rebels and the Ukrainian Army goes on in the distance, the Malaysian three-man team of aviation experts has buckled down to its tasks at the MH17 crash site here.

The team members were “quite happy” for the access they got to the site yesterday, according to the spokesman for the Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine, Michael Bociurkiw.

Accompanied by 15 Organisa­tion for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) monitors and a security detail provided by the rebel Donetsk People’s Republic, he said they also felt protected while conducting inspections in an area that was much burnt and charred.

Bociurkiw told reporters at the Park Inn Hotel here that they made several findings yesterday.

“The Malaysian experts observed that the heat from the impact was so intense it actually melted the wings,” he said.

He explained that this was due to the wings of the 17-year-old Boeing 777-200 being made of aluminium as opposed to the composite material more commonly found in newer planes.

The experts who arrived on Tuesday, comprised Malaysia Airlines director of engineering Azahari Dahlan and Department of Civil Aviation senior assistant directors Captain Philip Joseph Selvaraju and Mohd Naemy Fahimy Mus­tapa.

Bociurkiw said the OSCE also noticed that emergency recovery personnel were absent from the site and that tents set up in the area for this purpose had been packed away.

The Ukrainian monitors had left the area after their last search on Monday.

Many personal belongings of the dead passengers, Bociurkiw said, had also been removed, noting that the crash site perimeter had not been secured.

“There is still the existence of smaller body parts on site,” he said, adding that they had yet to be collected.

He said the search area was a challenging environment, with sunflower and other fields, villages and nearby conflict zones.

When asked if there had been any recovery of parts of a purported missile that might have struck MH17, Bociurkiw said Ukrainian officials who were there previously had apparently found the answers they sought.

“They gave us the sense that they were quite pleased with what they found. They will take those findings back to Kiev,” he said.

When pressed on the matter, Bociurkiw said the OSCE had not found anything that might have indicated a missile strike at this point.


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