News

Plane with first coffins of MH17 victims leaves Ukraine

Plane with first coffins of MH17 victims leaves Ukraine

MH17:People carry a coffin containing the remains of one of the victims of the Malaysia Airlines MH17 downed over rebel-held territory in eastern Ukraine before loading it on a transport plane heading towards the Netherlands at Kharkiv airport July 23. Photo: Reuters

KHARKIV Ukraine (Reuters) – A Dutch air force transport plane carrying the first 16 coffins with the remains of victims of the downed Malaysian airliner took off on Wednesday from an airport in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv for the Netherlands.

Honorary guards placed wooden coffins on the plane after a short and somber ceremony held on the tarmac before it took off.

All 298 people on board the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 perished when it was brought down last Thursday over rebel-held territory in eastern Ukraine, where Kiev is struggling to quell a pro-Russian separatist rebellion.

PHOTOS: Remembering the victims of MH17

Many of the victims were Dutch and the Netherlands will carry out their identification.

At the ceremony, Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman said the downing of the plane was an “inhumane terrorist act” carried out with help from Russia.

Kiev will do everything in its power to bring those guilty to justice, he added.

A Canadian military transport plane is due to leave Kharkiv with 24 more coffins later on Wednesday.

Russia has blamed Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko for the crash because he refused to extend a ceasefire with the separatist fighters. Moscow denies supporting the separatists.

U.S. intelligence officials said on Tuesday Washington believed pro-Russian separatists probably shot the plane down “by mistake,” not realizing it was a civilian passenger flight.

(Reporting by Sergei Karazy,; Writing by Gabriela Baczynska,; Editing by Elizabeth Piper)

Recent Headlines

in National

Spring ahead! Daylight-saving time starts Sunday

Fresh
clock

Don't forget to spring forward this weekend.

in Local

Northampton Gets Tougher on Snow Removal

shovel snow

The city council has given initial approval to an updated snow removal ordinance which makes failure to clear sidewalks a civil offense, punishable by a new fine structure.

in Local

MGM-Springfield to Break Ground March 24

casino

MGM has been soliciting contractors interested in working on the 800-million-dollar casino project.

in Local

Demand Skyrockets For Holyoke Charter School

Holyoke

The annual lottery for admission into the Holyoke Community Charter School drew 632 families this year.

in Local

Great Horned Owl Inspires Pet Warning in Northampton

great horned owl

City Councilor Paul Spector is warning residents about a great horned owl that has taken up residence near Massasoit Street.