The UN Security Council is set to vote on whether to set up an international tribunal to prosecute those suspected of bringing down Malaysia Airlines MH17. Russian ambassador:
Malaysia did include some language from our draft in their draft text but it did not go to the core of our concern, they kept insisting on the need to establish right now an international criminal court. This is not a proper thing for the Security Council to do because it’s not a case of a threat to international peace and security.
ABOUT 200 Ukrainian villagers gather on a field that was cleared of the scattered charred remains and personal belongings of 298 people killed aboard Flight MH17. Banners:
Kiev – hold your fire. You were killed. But we are still being killed.
Dutch authorities leading the investigation into the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 are convinced combatants based in the pro-Moscow separatist enclave of Donetsk were operating the missile system that killed 298 people last year. Chief Public Prosecutor:
The most likely scenario is that a BUK missile fired from [separatist-held] eastern Ukraine downed MH17.
Investigations for recovering human remains and wreckage from MH17 crash site ends. Mission head:
We have done everything humanly possible…Many more body parts were recovered over the past two weeks in the search near Petropavlivka, about 10 kilometers (six miles) west of Grabove where most of the debris fell….Many personal belongings like watches, passports… and other documents that is of great value to the victims’ families were also recovered.
German lawyer Elmar M. Giemulla, an aviation expert, says he will file a suit at the European Court of Human Rights in the coming weeks on behalf of three German families who lost relatives when the plane was shot down over eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014. He argues that Ukraine should have closed the airspace if safety could not be guaranteed for aircraft flying in it. German weekly Bild am Sonntag reports Giemulla will ask for compensation of $1.29 million for each victim killed in the crash.
The bodies of 20 Malaysian victims are flown home. As the remains arrived in Malaysia, the government declares the first national day of mourning in Malaysian history. The plane transporting the victims departed from Amsterdam and touched down in Kuala Lumpur around 10 AM local time. Prime Minister Najib:
Our thoughts and our prayers are with the families and friends of those who lost their lives. Today we stand with you, united as one.
Liam Sweeney, one of the crash victims, is buried. The service is held at St Mary’s Cathedral in Newcastle. The 28-year-old man was a fan of Newcastle United. Newcastle head coach Alan Pardew and team captain Fabricio Coloccini attend the service. A team scarf and shirt were put on his coffin. Prince Charles also expresses his condolences to Sweeney’s father:
My wife and I just wanted you to know how very much our hearts go out to you following the truly unimaginable tragedy of the loss of your son, Liam.
Remains of the crash victims from Malaysia are expected to arrive next week, and their families are being advised not to view the remains. Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Rohani Abdul Karim:
Our counselors have advised the next of kin to not view the remains but if they insist, they can do so at the burial or cremation ground where their private ceremonies may be held. This is because the bodies are not in an ordinary state and perhaps it is best for the families to remember the departed in their most perfect memory.
The Dutch government announces that 127 of the crash victims’ remains are positively identified, less than half of the 298 people who died in the crash. They state that 86 victims are Dutch, and the remaining 41 people are from an additional 10 nations whose citizens were on the flight. The forensic team working to identify the victims is comprised of 100 people, and they are working at a military base located southeast of Amsterdam.
The Dutch-led forensic team working on the remains of those aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 says it has identified 23 victims so far: 18 Dutch, two Malaysians, a Canadian, a German and a Briton. The Justice Ministry has said that all affected families have been notified.
Australia holds a day of mourning for 38 victims of the crash. Flags fly at half mast and bells chime throughout Australia. A multi-faith service takes place in St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Melbourne, where 16 of the victims had lived. Prime Minister Tony Abbott tells the attendees:
There will be a time to judge the guilty, but today we honor the dead and we grieve with the living. We do rededicate ourselves today to supporting the bereaved, to obtaining justice for the dead and for their families, and to working for a better world.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte tells reporters the Dutch mission at the crash site of MH17 has stopped. The Search team will return to site, but he does not know when that will happen. The ongoing fighting in the area is making the search too dangerous:
We have done what we could do in the current conditions. Everyone will agree with us that we should not expose our people to unnecessary risk.
Due to issues accessing the crash site, The Dutch Safety Board delays the release of the official report on the crash. The report is now expected to be released in September. Safety Board spokesman Wim van der Weegen says under International Civil Aviation Organization rules, a preliminary report is published one month after a crash date, but difficulty in accessing the crash site because of fighting between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian separatist rebels has pushed the deadline back:
It’s a very complicated situation.
A memorial service is held at Scotch College in Melbourne for three Australian children who died, along with their grandfather, on flight MH17. Mo, Evie and Otis Maslin, aged 12, 10 and eight, died alongside their grandfather Nick. More than 1,000 attended the service at Mo’s boarding school. Their mother Rin Norris says:
When their innocent bodies were shot out of the sky, I stretched my arms as high as I could and screamed for them. Now I see them only in my head. I can’t imagine the memory of their bodies close to mine and the love in my heart will always be open for them. My arms will always be reaching for them.
A video the children made for their aunt days before the crash is played at the memorial: http://youtu.be/PPCvhu2kVSk
Two cadaver dogs and 70 search team members are able to secure the debris field at the site. On the second consecutive day of access to the site, they find more human remains and personal belongings at a chicken farm near Grabovo. Head of the Dutch recovery mission:
We would like to thank all parties that have once again facilitated our access to the crash site. This is of great importance to the international police officers, the experts and, especially, the victims’ families.
Hours before international investigators arrive at the crash site, at least 10 Ukrainian soldiers are killed when their convoy is ambushed by pro-Russian separatist rebels in a town close to the wreckage.Thirteen soldiers are unaccounted for, and four other bodies are being examined to determine whether they are soldiers or rebels.
There may still be as many as 80 bodies left at the crash site, according to Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop:
But we won’t know until our investigative teams are on the site and combing the crash site for remains.
Many human remains have been flown away, mostly to the Netherlands, but fighting between the pro-Russian rebels and Ukranian military have made it difficult to clear out all the bodies. Bishop stated that she received her information from forensic investigators who had visited the crash site.
International investigators and observers are again prevented from entering the crash site because of the ongoing fighting between pro-separatists and Ukrainian forces. The group of 50 Dutch and Australian experts, accompanied by monitors from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), was also forced to abandon its attempts to reach the site because of the fighting on two other recent occasions. The Dutch Justice Ministry says the team is unable to leave Donetsk because
there is too much fighting at the moment on and near the route to the disaster site.
Malaysia and the pro-rebel separatists in Ukraine reach an agreement to allow a group of international police to enter the crash site and provide protection for a group of international investigators. Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak’s says:
I am deeply concerned that international investigators have been unable to properly deploy to the crash site because of the volatile security situation. It is imperative that we deploy a full team of investigators to ensure that all the human remains are removed from the site, identified and repatriated. Everyone who was on board MH17 must be afforded proper dignity and respect.
A group of international police and experts cancel their visit to the crash site due to fighting in the area. Alexander Hug, heading a monitoring team from the OSCE, says it would be too dangerous for the unarmed group to travel to the area from its current location in Donetsk:
The situation on the ground appears to be unsafe … we therefore decided to deploy tomorrow morning. Fighting in the area will most likely affect crash site.
The parents of Fatima Dyczynski, a 25 year-old woman from Perth, Australia who died in the crash, visit the crash site. It is believed they are the only family members to have traveled to the site to visit the scene. George Dyczynski wears a white t-shirt with picture of his daughter and the words “We love you” printed on it. Angela Dczynski says she wants to meet the commander of the region, which is controlled by pro-Russian separatists.
Would be so good to meet him in friendship.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott warned that it would be “ill-advised” for relatives to travel to the war-torn site. Mrs. Dyczynski:
We want to say again again and again, my daughter is not dead. She knows mum and dad … really fulfilled what we promised and we promised that we would come here on this field.
Razak will travel to the Netherlands on Wednesday to discuss the events surrounding the crash.
My priority now is to ensure the third part of the deal is honored, and that international investigators are given full and secure access to the site. This will require the cooperation of those in control of the crash site and the Ukrainian armed forces.
Clinton says that Vladimir Putin bears responsibility for the crash of Malaysian Airline flight MH17.
I think if there were any doubt it should be gone by now, that Vladimir Putin, certainly indirectly — through his support of the insurgents in eastern Ukraine and the supply of advanced weapons and, frankly, the presence of Russian Special Forces and intelligence agents — bears responsibility for what happened.
Planes carrying the remains of as many as 74 people lands a military base in Eindhoven, Netherlands. A lone bugler sounds the military farewell Last Post to mark the victims’ arrival, followed by a moment of silence.
The two flight recorders are delivered to Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) headquarters in London. A Department for Transport spokeswoman tells AFP:
We can confirm that the two black boxes from MH17 have been delivered by the Dutch Safety Board to the Air Accidents Investigation Branch at Farnborough for download.
AAIB expects to send the details of their findings to the Dutch government in approximately 24 hours. Ukraine’s government says the black boxes were transferred to Britain under the observation of the United Nations’ International Civil Aviation Organisation and that the vital data recorders were flown out of Kiev following an agreement between Malaysian, Dutch and Ukrainian officials and representatives from the ICAO:
Under the protocol it was determined that the objects called ‘black boxes’ were presented to the Ukrainian side but the Ukrainian side did not get involved with them and these objects did not remain under Ukrainian control for even one minute
The first group of bodies recovered from the crash site are flown to Netherlands. Officials at Kharkiv airport hold a moment of silence before the coffins were loaded onto the first plane. Netherlands declares the day a national day of mourning to honor the 193 citizens killed in the crash. Members of the Dutch royal family will meet the transport planes carrying 40 bodies.
Two military aircraft carrying 40 bodies arrive in the Dutch city of Eindhoven shortly before 4 p.m. (10 a.m. ET). A lone bugler was there, and a moment of silence was held across the country. Families of the victims and Dutch King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima are there when the planes arrive.
Investigators say they were damaged but find no evidence that the flight data recorders have been tampered with. The Dutch Safety Board states:
The Cockpit Voice Recorder was damaged but the part that contains the data was intact. Nor was there any evidence or indication that (it) had been manipulated.
They will now begin the process of analyzing the data downloaded from the recorders.
Vitaly Nayda, Ukraine’s director of informational security, tells CNN it was a “Russian-trained, well-equipped, well-educated officer” who “pushed that button deliberately.” He also says Ukrainian intelligence supports his assertion. He refers to audio recordings captured by Ukrainian intelligence:
We taped conversations between a Russian officer and his office in Moscow. We know for sure that several minutes before the missile was launched, there was a report to a Russian officer that the plane was coming…They knew the plane was coming with constant speed, in constant direction…and should have known it was not a fighter jet but a big civilian plane
Moscow denies these claims and is suggesting a Ukrainian jet fighter may have shot the plane down.
The train carrying as many as 298 remains of the victims of flight MH17 arrives at an army base in Ukraine today. The remains will be unloaded and put on a plane to be flown to Netherlands.
Three senior U.S. intelligence officials state that no direct link to the Russian government and the shooting down of the jet has been found. They believe the pro-Russian separatists are responsible, but they have no evidence to prove this. One official says:
There’s not going to be a Perry Mason moment. We don’t know who pulled the trigger.
Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine reach an agreement with Malaysia to surrender the flight recorder boxes and allow the bodies of the victims to be taken from the crash site by train. Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak says a commander of the separatist forces in the city of Donetsk ordered the bodies to be taken by train to Kharkiv, a city held by the Ukrainian government. Six Malaysian representatives oversee the transfer of the bodies in Kharkiv to the custody of the Netherlands. So far, 282 bodies have been found and loaded onto the train, as well as dozens of body parts from as many as 16 other victims. Officials now believe they have recovered most of the remains of the passengers and crew from the Boeing 777. From Kharkiv, the bodies will be flown to Amsterdam. The black boxes are handed over in Donetsk.
Twenty one more bodies are retrieved from the crash site this morning. Local rescue workers pile the black body bags by the side of the road in Hrabove. It is unclear when they will be transported to refrigerated railcars in the nearby town of Torez, where the other bodies are being held. Ukraine’s emergency services agency reports that the total number of bodies found is now 251.
Malaysia Airlines announces it will pay $5,000 to each victim’s family to “ease the immediate families of the passengers with their economic needs.” This payment will not be offset against any final compensation or affect families’ legal rights to any future claim. The airline says:
Funds have already been made available for this purpose.
Dutch forensics experts, accompanied by representatives of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), arrive at the crash site. Wearing shirts bearing the insignia of the forensics unit of the Dutch national police and latex gloves and masks they conduct an inspection of bodies that lay in black bags piled on to three rail cars. Ukrainian Prime Minister, Arseniy P. Yatsenyuk, says pro-Russian rebels who control the area are preventing the trains from leaving.
The Russian Defence Ministry claims that a Ukrainian military plane flew within three to five km of flight MH17 just before the crash. It said it detected the Ukrainian SU-25 combat jet on radar and noticed an increase in radar activity just before the Malaysian Airlines plane carrying 298 people was destroyed.
Pro-Russian separatists will allow safe access to monitors if there is a truce from Kiev. Andrei Purgin, deputy PM of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic said his troops would “guarantee the safety of international experts on the scene” as soon as a deal with Ukraine was struck on a ceasefire.
Alexander Borodai, a Ukraine rebel leader, says the black boxes have been found at the crash site and will be handed over to the International Civil Aviation Organization.
In a statement from Malaysia Airlines, the company says out of respect for the passengers and crew who died when the plane was shot down the flight number MH17 will be retired next week. The new flight number for the planes that fly that route will be MH19. They add
Our thoughts and prayers remains with the families of our colleagues and passengers of MH 17.
Vice Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman reports that 27 more bodies have been recovered from the crash site, bring the number of recovered bodies to 233. He adds that the rebel separatists are keeping the remains of 192 victims in refrigerated train cars and that there are ongoing talks pertaining to the release of those remains.
Cameron asks Putin to intervene so that victims of the crash can be removed from the scene and returned to their countries.
Sky News reporter Colin Brazier, while on air at the crash site, picks up and shows items from a victim’s suitcase. Almost immediately he realizes that he should not be doing this and says so out loud during the report. Both Brazier and Sky News “apologize profusely for any offence caused.”
Malaysia Airlines announces it will offer full refunds to any passengers who wish to cancel their reservations. They are also waiving any fees involved for customers wanting to change their travel plans, including tickets specified as non-refundable. This is in response to the two recent incidents involving their planes, flights MH370 and MH17.
Our Enrich passengers will also receive fee waivers for any changes to their travel itinerary, as well as refunds of miles should they choose to cancel their redemption tickets.
This waiver is applicable for any travel booked between July 18th and December 31st of this year. The airline has already suffered losses amounting to $1.3 billion over the previous three years, before the tragedies occurred.
Ukrainian workers with The State Emergency Service find 196 bodies at the crash site. Official staff are taking part in the search for the remains of the 298 people who were on board MH17, covering an area stretching across 34 square kilometers (13 square miles). There are 380 staff involved in the search. They are being assisted by coal miners from the area. International observers tell CNN that bodies that have been removed from the site are stored on refrigerated train cars at a nearby train station. Observers from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) say they can’t independently confirm that. The 14-member OSCE team says the train will remain in place until international specialists arrive, and it is not clear when that would be or where the train might take the bodies. They also say it is hard to obtain definitive information because pro-Russian rebels are in charge of the checkpoints leading to the site. A spokesperson for OSCE tells CNN:
There doesn’t seem to be one commander in charge.
Reuters news agency releases a video showing what appears to be a rescue worker holding up an in-flight recorder, often referred to as a black box, at the crash site. The agency labels the video as being of one of the two flight data recorders from flight MH17. Reuters says the video was taken two days ago. It is unclear who is in possession of the black box at this time. The data contained in the black box will be crucial in determining what happened on the plane moments before it was shot down.
The airline releases the full list of passengers and crew members that were aboard flight MH17 when it was shot down. The airline appeals to family and friends of the victims to contact them in an effort to find next of kin. A spokesman says Malaysia Airlines is assessing security in Ukraine before making a decision about possibly flying next of kin to the country where 298 passengers and crew lost their lives. He says family members are being cared for in Amsterdam while a team from the airline, including security officials, is on the ground in Ukraine. He said the team was trying to travel “500 kilometers (310 miles) through difficult territory” to reach the area where wreckage of the Boeing 777 landed. The full manifest is listed here.
Md Ali Md Salim, a passenger on flight MH17, posts a video to his Instagram account prior to the plane taking off from Amsterdam. He captions the 14-second video:
Bismillah… #hatiadasikitgentar (In the name of God… feeling a little bit nervous).
For the second day in a row, international observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) are denied total access to the crash site by armed separatists. The team of monitors is only allowed to see one part of the large area containing wreckage and human remains. Alexander Hug, the chief of the OSCE special monitoring mission to Ukraine, says today the team is allowed “to see a bit more” of the sprawling crash site. President Petro Poroshenko says in a statement that he will “not tolerate interference” with the work of international investigators.
With almost two-thirds of the people killed in the crash of flight MH17 being Dutch, the Dutch Prime Minister, Mark Rutte, urges President Vladimir Putin to use his power to influence the rebels to allow full access to the crash site. In a press briefing he says:
I want to see results in the form of unimpeded access and rapid recovery. This is now priority number one.
An intercepted phone call may be the answer to who is responsible for shooting down flight MH17. The recordings, translated and distributed by Ukrainian officials, begin with an alleged militant informing others that a plane has been shot down. The conversation is between an alleged pro-Russian rebel named Major and another identified as Grek:
Major: The plane broke into pieces in the air … we have found the first 200 (dead). It’s a civilian.”
Grek: “How are things going there?”
M: “Well, we are 100% sure that it was a civilian plane.”
G: “Are there a lot of people?”
M: “F–k! The debris was falling straight into the yards.”
M: “Here are remnants of internal brackets, chairs, bodies.”
G: “Are there any weapons?”
M: “Nothing at all. Civilian belongings, medical scraps, towels, toilet paper.”