21 more MH17 crash victims identified, experts fly home

THE HAGUE - Dutch forensics experts have identified 21 more flight MH17 victims, the government said on Friday, while their colleagues at the crash site began arriving home from east Ukraine where fighting has stopped the investigation.

Only two bodies had been identified so far. The 21 new victims are made up of 16 Dutch, including a dual British national, two Malaysians, a German, a Canadian and a Briton, the Dutch justice ministry said in a statement.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said on Wednesday that the search for body parts at the crash site was being suspended due to escalating clashes between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian separatists.

Two military transporters - a Dutch Air Force C-130 and an Australian C-17 Globemaster - arrived in the southern Dutch city of Eindhoven around 1300 GMT on Friday, carrying 142 police experts from the Netherlands, Australia and Malaysia, the Dutch news agency ANP reported.

On board the C-130 were 28 Dutch, 10 Australians and five Malaysian investigators, while the Australian plane carried 54 Dutch, 30 Australian, 15 Malaysians and five sniffer dogs.

The Malaysia Airlines 777 exploded over Ukraine on July 17, killing all 298 on board, 193 of them Dutch, with the West accusing Russia-backed separatists of shooting it down.

Over 220 coffins have been flown back to the Netherlands, which is tasked with identifying the bodies.