|A toy is placed at the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 near the village of Hrabove, eastern Ukraine|
A train carrying the bodies of 282 victims who died in the Malaysia Airlines crash has arrived in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv after the rebels finally agreed to release them.
The train pulled into a station in the government-held city at around 10am BST where Dutch investigators leading a probe into the disaster were waiting to take charge of the bodies.
From there, they will be put on planes – including a Dutch C130 Herculates and an Australian C-17 Globemaster – back to Amsterdam, where the doomed flight to Kuala Lumpur originated.
Oleksander Kharchenko, spokesman for the state committee on the crash, said ‘we will do our best’ to send the bodies back tonight.
In the central Dutch city of Utrecht, a team of 150 investigators has been pulled together to begin the grisly task of trying to identify the victims in readiness for their arrival.
Carriages of death: A train carrying the remains of more than 280 victims of the Malaysia Airlines MH17 disaster arrives in the Ukrainian government-held city of Kharkiv
Journalists follow the train as it arrives in the city of Kharkiv, where the victims will be flown to the Netherlands
They include police officers, military personnel, forensic dentists and other medics, who have been tasked with collecting samples from close relatives around the country to help identify the 193 Dutch victims.
Jos van Roo, the team leader of the Dutch National Forensic Investigations Team, known as the LTFO, told the Wall Street Journal: ‘We have been collecting DNA samples, hair, fingerprints, information about scars or tattoos or moles.’
He said this information would then be handed the Netherlands Forensic Institute (NFI) which will use sophisticated software called Bonaparte to match those samples to the victims.
Grisly task: Members of a special Malaysian team of investigators wait at the Kharkiv railway station for the arrival of the train carrying the bodies retrieved from crash sites in eastern Ukraine
This process was completed in an around 30 days during an investigation into a 2010 crash in Libya which killed 104 people, a spokeswoman for the NFI said.
Mr van Roo said the investigation has been so distressing even for experienced investigators that the team is being assessed by a psychologist on a daily basis.
The investigation has been all the more challenging after rebel militia were accused of allowing the crash site’s desecration and obstructing the process of recovering the bodies.
Remains have been left out for more than two days in sweltering heat and to compound matters the refrigeration unit on the train carrying them to Donetsk reportedly broke down.
Vocal: Malaysian activists hold banners during a protest at the United Nations office in Kuala Lumpur to demand justice for the 298 victims of the MH17 crash
Tragic: A toy is placed at the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 near the village of Hrabove, eastern Ukraine
Mr Tyler added: ‘The investigation must also start quickly and with total freedom and access. Actions over the weekend which slowed down progress on both of these priorities were an outrage to human decency.
‘We have heard news of potential progress on both these issues. But promises now need to be turned into reality with actions.
Crucial evidence: Pro-Russian separatists finally hand over the two black boxes from MH17 to Colonel Mohamed Sakri (not pictured) of Malaysian National Security Council during a press conference in Donetsk
‘Airlines and governments are partners in supporting global connectivity. Airlines carry the passengers and cargo.
‘Governments and air navigation service providers inform airlines about the routes that they can fly and with what restrictions. Airlines comply with that guidance.
‘That was the case with MH17. Malaysia Airlines was a clearly identified commercial jet.
‘And it was shot down – in complete violation of international laws, standards and conventions – while broadcasting its identity and presence on an open and busy air corridor at an altitude that was deemed to be safe.’
He went on: ‘No effort should be spared in ensuing that this outrage is not repeated. Of course, nobody should be shooting missiles at civilian aircraft-governments or separatists.
‘Governments will need to take the lead in reviewing how airspace risk assessments are made. And the industry will do all that it can to support governments, through ICAO (the International Civil Aviation Organisation), in the difficult work that lies ahead.
-Daily Mail Online