MH17 crash victims: First bodies arrive in Netherlands from Ukraine for formal identification
The Netherlands is holding a national day of mourning for victims
The first bodies recovered from the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crash in eastern Ukraine have arrived in the Netherlands today to begin the process of identification.
Two transport planes, one Dutch and one Australian, flew in to Holland's Eindhoven airport from the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv carrying 40 coffins.
They touched down just before 3pm UK time and were met by Dutch king Willem-Alexander and queen Maxima, as well as the Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte.
A minute's silence was held before hearses prepared to taken them from the airport to the Korporaal van Oudheusden barracks to be identified.
An unconfirmed number of bodies were released by the rebels yesterday and taken to the government-controlled city of Kharkiv in a refrigerated train carriage.
Video: The aftermath of MH17 crash
Meanwhile, the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) confirmed the black boxes from the downed flight have been delivered to their headquarters at Farnborough in Hampshire.
The AAIB has been tasked with retrieving crucial data from the flight recorders for "international analysis" to determine the circumstances surrounding the plane crash.
A department spokesman said it would take 24 hours to download the data from each black box, but did not know whether the data from each could be downloaded simultaneously.
Earlier, thousands of social media users replaced their profile pictures for black squares to pay tribute to the victims of MH17.
The avatar blackout and hashtag #bringthemhome has been led by users in the Netherlands, where a day of mourning will be held today for the 298 passengers killed when the Boeing 777-200 was apparently shot down by a rocket. Some 193 of the victims were Dutch and 10 were British.
The trend began as a call for all of the bodies of victims to be repatriated as soon as possible and the hashtag has also been used by people in Australia, Britain and the US.
Have changed my profile picture black in memory of all the innocent people who tragically lost their lives in this atrocity #bringthemhome; sarah (@sarahm68) July 23, 2014
Mr Rutte has warned identifying the bodies could take “weeks, or even months”. The Dutch are leading the investigation into what happened to the Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur flight, at the request of the Ukrainian government.
A British team of police officers, led by the Metropolitan Police, will assist with victim identification in the Netherlands.
READ MORE: What are the 'black boxes' and what could they reveal?
PRO-RUSSIAN REBEL ‘ADMITS TO SHOOTING DOWN PLANE’
US CLAIMS RUSSIA 'CREATED CONDITIONS' for DOWNING OF MH17
AIDS CONFERENCE DELEGATES VOW TO HONOUR MH17 VICTIMS
Prime Minister David Cameron announced Britain's Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) is to retrieve data from the black boxes for "international analysis" after a request from the Dutch government.
On Tuesday, senior US intelligence officials claimed Russia was responsible for "creating the conditions" that led to the shooting down of MH17, but they offered no evidence of direct Russian government involvement.
Additional reporting by agencies
- 1 I've been called an abusive and dangerous parent, when all I did was listen to my transgender child
- 2 Migrant crisis: Greek soldier saved 20 people singlehandedly off Rhodes beach
- 3 Sofyen Belamouadden murder: The inside story of a crime that horrified Britain
- 4 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 5 Ian Brady: Moors murderer announces his support for Ukip and the SNP
Migrant crisis: Greek soldier saved 20 people singlehandedly off Rhodes beach
Russian hack of President Obama's emails worse than previously admitted
Ian Brady: Moors murderer announces his support for Ukip and the SNP
UK weather: Britain braced for snow to replace sun as arctic air mass moves in
Nepal earthquake: US Pastor Tony Miano sparks outcry by suggesting Nepalis should not rebuild their 'pagan shrines'
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
General Election 2015: Britain would become a 'communist dictatorship' under Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, claims wife of Michael Gove
£26000 - £28000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistan...
£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...
£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...
£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...