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MOSCOW, April 23. /TASS/. About 15 tonnes of wreckage have been removed from the site of the downed Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 in eastern Ukraine, the Emergencies Ministry of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic said on Thursday.
Specialists from Malaysia and the Netherlands, charged with body part recovery and also leading the probe into the July 17 crash that killed all 298 people on board, on April 16 resumed search for debris and human remains at the crash site, planning to complete their work by April 30.
The debris and remains will be taken to the Netherlands for examination.
"Rescue workers from the city of Torez helped experts to load the plane’s wreckage. About 15 tonnes of fragments of different sizes have been removed from the crash site near the village of Grabovo," the ministry said.
The Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777, flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, crashed in Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk region, some 60 kilometres (around 37 miles) from the Russian border in the zone of combat operations between Donetsk self-defence forces and the Ukrainian army. All passengers and crew perished, The Netherlands reporting 196 victims, the highest death toll in the disaster.
Work to remove the plane’s wreckage became possible after representatives of the Netherlands, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the Donetsk People’s Republic signed a protocol last November. Before that, experts and investigators were unable to access the crash site due to continuous shelling on the territory.
First pieces of the wreckage were delivered to the Netherlands in early December. The Dutch safety board leading the investigation said the fragments would be photographed, scanned and categorised and that experts would attempt to reconstruct the airliner.