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First MH17 victims return to Netherlands

Thursday 24 Jul 2014 5:33a.m.

First MH17 victims return to Netherlands

The first bodies recovered from the downed Malaysia Airlines plane have been flown to the Netherlands where a national day of mourning has been declared.

Members of the Dutch royal family were met the two military transport planes carrying 40 bodies which will undergo identification before being handed over to families.

The Netherlands lost 193 citizens on the MH17, which had 298 passengers and crew on board.

Officials at Ukraine's Kharkiv airport held a minute's silence on Wednesday before the coffins were loaded onto the first Hercules plane, which took off at around noon local time.

Black box intact - Dutch

Dutch experts say data from the cockpit voice recorder is intact and has not been tampered with.

"The cockpit voice recorder was damaged but the memory module was intact. Furthermore no evidence or indications of manipulation of the cockpit voice recorder was found," the Dutch Safety Board (OVV) said, as the black boxes were being analysed in Britain.

The recorders, salvaged from the plane wreckage in eastern Ukraine, have been handed to the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) headquarters in Farnborough, southwest of London.

AAIB experts are tasked with extracting information from the cockpit voice recorder, which should give them hours of pilots' conversations, as well as the contents of the flight data recorder.

"The cockpit voice recorder data was successfully downloaded and contained valid data from the flight. The downloaded data have to be further analysed and investigated," the OVV said.

"Tomorrow (Thursday) the team will start the examination of the Flight Data Recorder. This will show whether this recorder also contains relevant information, in which case the data from both recorders will be combined."

The boxes - which are actually orange in colour - were delivered to Farnborough by the OVV, which is leading an international investigation into the crash in which 298 people died, including Australia citizens and residents.

The OVV is coordinating investigation teams from eight different countries, including Russia.

Pro-Russian rebels controlling the crash site handed the boxes over to Malaysian officials on Tuesday.

Western governments say the evidence points to the Boeing 777 plane having been shot down with a missile by pro-Russian separatists.

AFP

 
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