Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: victims’ bodies bundled in black bags and loaded onto trains

Rebels claim bodies will not move ‘until experts arrive’ as Ukraine claims 27 more bodies found

The 192 bodies found after the Flight MH17 plane crash, have been bundled into black body bags and unceremoniously loaded into large refrigerated train cars, bound, it is understood, for the rebel heartland.

Rebel leader Alexander Borodai, prime minister of the Donetsk People’s Republic, claims that he has the bodies – which have been decomposing since Thursday - held in the train cars in the rebel-held city of Torez, 15 kilometres from the crash site.

Mr Borodai has given the unexpected explanation of removing the bodies from the site of the crash, where they have been lying rotting and exposed to the baking Ukrainian heat, “out of respect for the families,” and because “it is becoming inhumane in these conditions”.

“We couldn’t wait any longer because of the heat and also because there are many dogs and wild animals I the zone,” he told reporters, a statement that jars with  reports from the crash site of the rebels blocking investigations and even allowing the bodies to be looted.

Mr Bordai claims the bodies will not be moved “until the experts arrive,” and that the plane's black boxes will also be handed over to the Civil Aviation Authority.

But armed separatists in Torez have told the Guardian that they did not know when the train would leave. The train driver said he had no idea as to the destination of the train.

The bodies were reportedly moved by Ukraine’s emergency services who were working for the rebels under duress on Sunday.

Ukraine’s deputy prime minister Volodymyr Groysman told a news conference that 27 more bodies, along with 20 fragments of bodies, have since been recovered from the site. He said the bodies that had been loaded into the refrigerated train wagons were being held before being sent home for burial.

The family members of those killed in the Malaysian Airlines MH17 crash were dealt a new blow as reports emerged that their loved ones’ bodies had been guarded by drunk rebels, looted, left exposed to the elements and even dragged around, before they were unceremoniously removed from the site on Sunday.

International anger is rising at the lack of dignity with which the bodies have been treated, while families of the victims continue to call for the bodies to be returned home.

For days the bodies from the crash scene were reported to have been left to rot in the sunshine, exposed to nearly 30C heat and occasional downpours of rain after their plane was shot down on Thursday.

“Some of the body bags are open and the damage to the corpses is very, very bad – it is very difficult to look at,” said Michael Bociurkiw, spokesman for the investigators at the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) on Saturday.

“It basically looks like the biggest crime scene in the world right now, guarded by a bunch of guys in uniform with heavy firepower who are quite inhospitable,” he told reporters at the time.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte called the rebels' treatment of the bodies "downright disgusting," saying: "Shocked by images of totally disrespectful behaviour, downright disgusting. Absolutely urgent now is the rapid repatriation of victims," on Twitter. A cuddly toy monkey found in the wreckage A cuddly toy monkey found in the wreckage

On Friday Mr Bociurkiw said the officials, who have made on-going efforts to recover the bodies, were continually hampered with some of the rebels guarding the scene appearing drunk.

Ukraine’s officials had already accused the rebels of destroying evidence at the site and of allowing the victims to be robbed of their cash and credit cards, while the fighters stand accused of failing to provide full access to the scene to international observers, and of tampering with crucial evidence.

Mr Borodai denied the rebels had interfered with the crash investigation.

The Dutch foreign minister Frans Timmermans condemned reports of how the dead have been treated, 193 of which were Netherlands nationals.  

“We are already shocked by the news we got today of bodies being dragged around, of the site not being treated properly… People are angry, furious,” he said on Saturday.

But it is little comfort to the families left behind, and the relatives of the 10 Britons who died on the flight. Speaking to the Telegraph, Barry Sweeney, 52, from North Tyneside, whose 28-year-old son Liam was one of the passengers on the plane, said: “I am sickened by reports of what has been happening over there and I just want Liam home.”

On Sunday Malaysia Airlines released a full list of the passengers on Flight MH17, though the names of the Britons on the flight had already been released. John Allen, a lawyer and Andrew Hoare, a banker, died on the flight with their wives and five children. Robert Ayley, a father of two who lives in New Zealand and was travelling alone, was also on board.

 

News
A Brazilian wandering spider
news

World's most lethal spider found under a bunch of bananas

News
people
Sport
Mario Balotelli pictured in the win over QPR
footballInternet reacts to miss shocker for Liverpool striker
Voices
Sol Campbell near his home in Chelsea
voices
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
i100
News
Kimi the fox cub
newsBurberry under fire from animal rights group - and their star, Kimi
Sport
Fans of Palmeiras looks dejected during the match between Palmeiras and Santos
footballPalmeiras fan killed trying to 'ambush' bus full of opposition supporters
Arts and Entertainment
filmsIt's nearly a wrap on Star Wars: Episode 7, producer reveals
Life and Style
fashion
News
i100
News
<p>Jonathan Ross</p>
<p>Jonathan Ross (or Wossy, as he’s affectionately known) has been on television and radio for an extraordinarily long time, working on a seat in the pantheon of British presenters. Hosting Friday Night with Jonathan Ross for nine years, Ross has been in everything from the video game Fable to Phineas and Ferb. So it’s probably not so surprising that Ross studied at Southampton College of Art (since rebranded Southampton Solent), a university known nowadays for its media production courses.</p>
<p>However, after leaving Solent, Ross studied History at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, now part of the UCL, a move that was somewhat out of keeping with the rest of his career. Ross was made a fellow of the school in 2006 in recognition of his services to broadcasting.</p>
TV

Rumours that the star wants to move on to pastures new

News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
The cast of Downton Abbey indulge in some racing at a Point to Point
tvNew pictures promise a day at the races and a loved-up Lady Rose
News
people

Comedian says he 'never laughed as hard as I have writing with Rik'

Arts and Entertainment
Tim Wonnacott dancing the pasadoble
TVStrictly Come Dancing The Result
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

1st Line Technical Support Engineer

£22000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Thame i...

Graduate Project Manager

£25000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Chelmsf...

PPA Cover Teacher

£110 - £130 per day + Competitive rates of pay: Randstad Education Reading: Pr...

Teaching Assistant Cornwall

£45 - £70 per day: Randstad Education Plymouth: TEACHING ASSISTANTS REQUIRED F...

Day In a Page

Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album
Hugh Bonneville & Peter James: 'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'

How We Met: Hugh Bonneville & Peter James

'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's heavenly crab dishes don't need hours of preparation

Bill Granger's heavenly crab recipes

Scared off by the strain of shelling a crab? Let a fishmonger do the hard work so you can focus on getting the flavours right
Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

After a remarkable conversion from reckless defender to prolific striker, Monaco's ace says he wants to make his loan deal at Old Trafford permanent
Terry Venables: Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England

Terry Venables column

Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England
The Inside Word: Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past

Michael Calvin's Inside Word

Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past