Some Malaysian victims of MH17 crash identified

Some Malaysian victims of MH17 crash identified

AMSTERDAM - Forensic experts identified some Malaysians amongst the MH17 remains being examined at the Hilversum medical military base.

However, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said the disaster victim identification (DVI) examination of remains from all 226 coffins should be completed first over the coming weeks.

This was so that the international investigation team could arrive at a conclusion beyond doubt about the victims' identity before information could be released, the Prime Minister added.

Najib said this was crucial, given that some of the body bags contained the remains of not one, but several individuals.

"The last thing we want to do is return the wrong body or body parts because it will be very traumatic for the families concerned," he told reporters here yesterday.

Of the 226 coffins flown to the Netherlands from Ukraine, he said 126 had been opened and the remains within examined.

Najib said he expected the DVI examination to yield more conclusive results in two weeks, adding that Malaysia would then have a good idea of when its citizens could come home.

In the DVI process, experts compare the ante-mortem (before death) data of the victims, including fingerprints and dental charts, with the post-mortem data gathered.

Their DNA samples are also compared with that of their relatives.

"The experts are also collecting evidence from the remains that could be linked to the crime committed," Najib said.

Besides this, he said documentation to bring the Malaysians home would also take time.

When the first of the Malaysian bodies fly home, he said, that day would be declared as a day of ­national mourning with an official ceremony held.

Although this had never been done in relation to a tragedy, he said the Government felt it was appro­priate to declare a day as such.

"We will do something which commensurates with our desire to give honour and dignity to the victims and their families," Najib said.

"The Government, and I believe the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, will be there to receive the caskets."

He added that details would be announced later.

On securing full access to the crash site in Torez, Najib said efforts were under way to allow investigators to gather evidence and recover more bodies, believed to be still there.

Najib said that although the international investigation team had finally managed to access the site on Thursday, they could only remain there for an hour due to safety concerns.

"This is woefully inadequate for the huge task they have to complete," he said, noting the need to reconstruct the aircraft from the wreckage as well.

As for the 68 police personnel who arrived in Ukraine, Najib said he spoke to Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar and Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi to coordinate their movements.

On the MH17 black box undergoing expert analysis in the United Kingdom, Najib said he had been briefed about the latest updates but declined to elaborate as Malaysia was an interested party.

"I would rather the organisation responsible make a professional and comprehensive statement on the findings," he said.

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