MH17: All 228 coffins to be opened by weekend

MH17: All 228 coffins to be opened by weekend

THE HAGUE - All 228 coffins containing the remains of the MH17 victims are expected to be opened by the end of this week as the disaster victim identification (DVI) process continues at Hilversum, said the National Security Council (MKN).

Its MH17 mission head Khairil Hilmi Mokhtar said 164 coffins were opened so far since the first batch arrived in the Netherlands from Ukraine on July 23.

He added that another two coffins were flown here yesterday from Kharkiv, but could not confirm how many body bags these contained.

"We estimate that we will be able to get a clearer idea of when we can repatriate the Malaysian victims in around two weeks time," he said.

However, he stressed that the Government would immediately notify the next-of-kin if any Malaysian had been positively identified before that period.

Khairil Hilmi said the relatives' wishes would be honoured, whether they would like their loved ones to be cremated, buried here or brought back to Malaysia for burial.

"It is only after consulting them that the Government will decide how exactly to carry out the repatriation process," he said.

He said that as the MH17 mission was now in phase two involving DVI and repatriation, the Malaysian Embassy here would be taking over from MKN in overseeing operations.

He said that the Royal Malaysian Police would be leading the crime scene investigations in Ukraine with the assistance of the Malaysian Embassy there.

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