Crash Victims' Bodies In Netherlands



(AP) - Two military transport planes carrying 40 coffins bearing victims of the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 have landed in the southern city of Eindhoven.

Six days after the Boeing 777 was shot down over the battlefields of eastern Ukraine, the first bodies finally arrived Wednesday in the Netherlands, the country that bore the heaviest toll in the crash that killed all 298 passengers and crew.

A Dutch Hercules C-130 that Dutch government spokesman Lodewijk Hekking says is carrying 16 coffins was closely followed by an Australian C-17 Globemaster plane carrying 24 coffins.

British investigators have begun examining the flight recorders from the downed Malaysia Airlines plane.

They say Dutch authorities have delivered the plane's voice and data recorders to the agency's base in southern England, where information will be downloaded. Experts will also check for signs of tampering.

Dutch officials, meanwhile, say they've taken charge of the investigation, and they're pleading for complete access to the wreckage in eastern Ukraine, in an area controlled by pro-Russia rebels. A spokesman for the Dutch Safety Board says about 25 investigators are already in Kiev analyzing information including photos, satellite images and radar information, but that they have not yet gained access to the crash site. He says they haven't been able to get guarantees about security, but that they hope to be able to reach the site "soon."

Meanwhile, independent military analysts say the shrapnel impacts that are visible in photos of the wreckage indicate that a missile from a system like the S-A-11 brought down the plane. Justin Bronk, a military sciences research analyst at the Royal United Services Institute, says the shrapnel holes are "fairly broad," which would be consistent with a large missile like the S-A-11.

Another analyst says the large number of shrapnel holes in the debris means that only a fragmentary warhead like the S-A-11 could have been used.


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