MH17 air crash: 196 bodies found

Emergency workers in Ukraine say they have now found 196 bodies at the crash site of Malaysia airliner MH17.

A total of 298 people were on board the plane, when it was reportedly hit by a missile over a rebel-held area in Donetsk region on Thursday.

Western countries have criticised restrictions imposed by rebels at the crash site, and have asked Russia put pressure on them to allow more access.

International observers are expected to visit the site again later on Sunday.

Ukraine and the pro-Russian rebels have accused each other of shooting down the Boeing 777, which was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.

The US State Department said there had been multiple reports of bodies and aircraft parts being removed, and potential evidence tampered with. BBC correspondents say the crash site is still not cordoned off properly.

The BBC has learned that at least some of the bodies which have been recovered have been taken to the rebel-held town of Torez nearby.


The passenger list released by Malaysia Airlines shows the plane was carrying 193 Dutch nationals (including one with dual US nationality), 43 Malaysians (including 15 crew), 27 Australians, 12 Indonesians and 10 Britons (including one with dual South African nationality), four Germans, four Belgians, three from the Philippines, and one each from Canada and New Zealand.

Memorial services are being held in Australia, with more planned in other countries later on Sunday.

Bishop Peter Comensoli, who led the mass at Sydney’s St Mary’s Catholic Cathedral, said the downing of MH17 was not “an innocent accident” but “the outcome of a trail of human evil”.

The Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who was at the service, told ABC TV: “You look at the faces of the dead and they’re your neighbours, they’re your friends, they could be your kids because let’s face it, we are a people who like to travel.”

In Melbourne, a special mass was held for the HIV experts and campaigners on the flight who were making their way to the city for an international Aids conference.

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