Mon11202017

LAST_UPDATEMon, 20 Nov 2017 2am

As Violence And Winter Descend, MH17 Investigators Seek Other Ways To Crash Site

A teddy bear is placed next to wreckage at the site of the downed flight MH17, eastern Ukraine September 9, 2014. The international investigative team ― which includes Malaysian, Australian and Dutch officials ― have yet to visit the site due to prevailing security concerns. — Reuters pic A teddy bear is placed next to wreckage at the site of the downed flight MH17, eastern Ukraine September 9, 2014. The international investigative team ― which includes Malaysian, Australian and Dutch officials ― have yet to visit the site due to prevailing security concerns. — Reuters pic KUALA LUMPUR― Investigators are weighing alternative routes to the MH17 crash site in Ukraine’s restive eastern region after fighting broke out again last week, said Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein today.

According to the minister, a reconnaissance team comprising multi-national investigators had come under fire despite travelling to the site under the auspices of Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

“We are looking at alternative routes and if the ceasefire holds between Ukraine and the separatist, then it gives another window of opportunity to go in for a last sweep,” said Hishammuddin.

“Investigators are pressed for time as winter approaches,” he added, as the snow season approaches in about a month.

The international investigative team ― which includes Malaysian, Australian and Dutch officials ― have yet to visit the site due to prevailing security concerns despite a ceasefire between Ukraine and pro-Russia separatist rebels on September 5.

The area is expected to come under a heavy blanket of snow when winter arrives, a scenario that could mean the loss of any evidence remaining at the site of the plane’s wreckage.

To date, 224 victims of MH17 have been identified while the identities of 74 victims are still being determined.

Of the remains recovered and identified, 41 are Malaysians comprising 26 passengers and 15 crew members. A total of 44 Malaysians were killed in the crash.

A preliminary report on the MH17 crash released by the Dutch Safety Board last Tuesday confirmed that the Boeing 777-200 broke apart in unrestricted airspace after it was struck by a large number of “high energy objects”.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had previously said that this points to the “strong suspicion” that the commercial plane was struck down by a surface-to-air missile.

He cautioned, however, that this needs to be verified by further investigations, and urged for “full and unfettered access” to the crash site by investigators to establish the truth behind the crash.

Flight MH17, which was en-route to Kuala Lumpur from Amsterdam, was believed to have been shot down while cruising at 33,000 feet over eastern Ukraine airspace on July 17. All 298 passengers and crew died in the crash.

--The Malay Mail

http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/as-violence-and-winter-descend-mh17-investigators-seek-other-ways-to-crash#sthash.b2lpjF8B.dpuf