Malaysia Airlines flight MH17: 'Second black box recovered' from crash site

Rebels have pledged to give international investigators access to the crash site to allow for the recovery of bodies

Heather Saul
Friday 18 July 2014 10:37 BST
Rescuers stand on the site of the crash of a Malaysian airliner near the town of Shaktarsk, in rebel-held east Ukraine
Rescuers stand on the site of the crash of a Malaysian airliner near the town of Shaktarsk, in rebel-held east Ukraine

Ukraine's emergency services have found two black boxes at the crash site of the downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, the governor of eastern Ukraine's Donetsk region has been quoted as saying.

"Two black boxes were found by our emergency services. I have no information on where these boxes are at the moment," Kostyantyn Batovsky told the Interfax-Ukraine news agency.

Pro-Russian separatists in the region said on Thursday they had found one black box when the Malaysian airliner came down between Krasni Luch in Luhansk region and Shakhtarsk in the neighbouring region of Donetsk.

The Interfax-Ukraine news agency had claimed the first black box has been sent to Moscow for analysis, the BBC reported. The news agency now reports a second black box has been recovered at the crash site.

However, separatist leader Aleksandr Borodai told the Associated Press: "No black boxes have been found ... We hope that experts will track them down and create a picture of what has happened."

A spokesman for the Emergencies Ministry in Kiev declined to comment on the report.

Meanwhile, the Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has been quoted as saying Russia does not plan to take the "black box" flight recorders from downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in territory held by pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine,

The United States called for an immediate ceasefire on Friday to allow easy access to the crash site, while pro-Russian separatists told the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), a security and rights body, they would ensure safe access for international experts visiting the scene.

"As a matter of priority, they (the separatists) shall close off the site of the catastrophe and allow local authorities to start preparations for the recovery of bodies," the OSCE said in a statement.

A diver searches for a black box on the site of the crash of a Malaysian airliner near the town of Shaktarsk, in rebel-held east Ukraine

It said the rebels had committed to providing safe access and security guarantees to the national investigation commission, including international investigators, in the area under their control.

The Boeing 777-200 departed Amsterdam at 12.14am local time bound for Kuala Lumpur. A number of those on board were travelling to an international AIDS conference in Melbourne, including Joep Lange, an influential Dutch expert.

The cause of Thursday's crash has not yet been established. Ukraine has accused pro-Russian separatists of shooting down the plane, a claim rebels have denied.

Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak said the aircraft flight route was declared safe by the International Civil Aviation Organization. The International Air Transportation Association had also stated that the air space that the aircraft was traversing was not subject to restrictions.

Malaysia Airlines has confirmed the flight did not make a distress call. It is the second disaster to hit the carrier this year, after flight MH370 disappeared in March on route to Kuala Lumpur with 239 people on board.

Nine Britons are now known to have died aboard flight MH17 when it crashed in eastern Ukraine, Malaysia Airlines has confirmed today. The passengers on the flight included 173 Dutch, 28 Australians, 44 Malaysians - including 15 crew, 12 people from Indonesia, four Germans, four Belgians, three from the Philippines and one Canadian.

Additional reporting by agencies

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