Malaysia Airlines has announced it will cut 6,000 jobs as part of a radical restructuring plan after being hit by two disasters in 2014.
The reduction in staff numbers represents around 30% of its workforce of 20,000.
Malaysia Airlines will become completely state owned, and a new chief executive will eventually be put in place.
Investigators continue to hunt for flight MH370, the Kuala Lumpur to Beijing flight which went missing in March.
The MH17 air crash in eastern Ukraine is also under investigation. The plane was shot down on July 17, with the loss of all 298 people on board.
The recovery plan will cost about 6 billion Malaysian ringgit ($1.9 billion).
Khazanah Nasional, the state investment company that owns a 69% stake in Malaysia Airlines, will take 100% ownership.
Malaysia Airlines will cut 6,000 jobs as part of a radical restructuring plan after being hit by two disasters in 2014 (photo AP)
“The combination of measures announced today will enable our national airline to be revived,” said Khazanah’s managing director Azman Mokhtar.
“Success is by no means guaranteed – while it is imperative that MAS [Malaysia Airlines] as a critical enabler in national development is revived, public accountability for the use of the funds mean that it cannot be renewed at any cost,” he added.
Long-haul routes will be slashed, and the airline aims to return to profitability by 2018.
Malaysia Airlines warned on Thursday that it had seen a sharp decline in weekly bookings following the two air disasters.
However, the company has been in trouble over the past few years, and has lost billions of ringgit in that time.
Malaysia Airlines will be completely delisted from the Bursa Malaysia stock exchange by the end of 2014.
Relevant assets, operations and liabilities of Malaysia Airlines will be transferred to a new company by July 1, 2015.
The current chief executive, Ahmad Jauhari Yahya, will continue to lead Malaysia Airlines until the new company is formed next year.
The hunt for the missing Malaysia Airlines jet MH370 has entered the next phase.
Two vessels – the Fugro Equator and the Zhu Kezhen – are currently mapping an area covering 60,000 sq km.
Detailed information being gathered about the shape of the ocean floor west of Australia confirms the seabed in some locations to be extremely rugged.
This survey will guide a metre-by-metre search using towed instruments and submersibles.
This is likely to get under way towards the end of September.
The Australian authorities have warned that this could take a year to complete.
The Dutch-owned Fugro Equator and the Chinese naval vessel Zhu Kezhen are presently assembling a bathymetric (depth) map.
It covers the general location in the southern Indian Ocean where investigators believe MH370 is most likely to have come down.
The map is akin to a broad canvas – a first-ever proper look at a terrain about which there is the slimmest of knowledge.
It is essential work. Without this map, which has a resolution of roughly 25m in the deepest depths, it would not be safe to put down submersibles, as there is a high risk these vehicles would be lost.
The Fugro Equator is equipped with a state-of-the-art multibeam echosounder.
Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 was lost on March 8, 2014, as it flew from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, carrying 239 people
The vast majority of the area it is covering has never been sampled before.
It has recorded depths near to 6,000m. Even the shallow regions are more than 1,000m down.
But it is the craggy nature of the seabed that will prompt extreme caution to be exercised in the next phase of operations.
Fugro has been contracted by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau to conduct this part of the search as well.
It will involve the Equator and another ship, the Fugro Discovery. Both ships will pull a deep-tow instrument very close to the sea floor using a 10,000m armored fiber-optic cable.
Echosounders are its ears; cameras represent its eyes; and a chemical sensor works like a nose.
This nose will “sniff” for the presence of any jet fuel in the water, down to a few parts per billion in concentration.
Assembling the bathymetric map has been a tough job in itself.
The Equator has had to contend with some terrible winter weather.
Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 was lost on March 8, 2014, as it flew from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, carrying 239 people.
Its disappearance has become one the biggest mysteries in aviation history.
The best information investigators have for its whereabouts come for a series of brief satellite communications with the jet during its flight.
The last of these connections suggests MH370 crashed into the water inside the “high priority” search zone now being surveyed by the Dutch and Chinese vessels.
Malaysian state fund Khazanah Nasional has proposed a “complete overhaul” of national carrier Malaysia Airlines.
Khazanah wants to buy the shares it does not already own in Malaysia Airlines and delist the carrier.
The airline has been hurt by two major tragedies – the crash of flight MH17 in Ukraine and disappearance of flight MH370 – in recent months.
The two incidents have triggered concerns about the airline’s future.
Khazanah, which currently owns 69.4% of Malaysia Airlines, has offered to pay 0.27 ringgit ($0.08) per share for the remaining stock, a 12.5% premium to the closing price on Thursday.
Khazanah Nasional has proposed a complete overhaul of Malaysia Airlines
Trading in shares in Malaysia Airlines was suspended on Friday, ahead of the announcement.
Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 went missing on March 8 while flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, leading to a massive search and rescue operation that is still continuing and may cost millions of dollars.
The majority of the passengers on board that flight were from China.
The crisis led to a high number of cancellations and reputational damage to the carrier, including a 60% drop in sales from China.
Malaysia Airlines suffered another major setback in July after all 298 people on board flight MH17 died as the plane was brought down in eastern Ukraine, close to the border with Russia.
The company has been losing money for many years and its market value has fallen by more than 40% in the past nine months.
In May, it reported that its net loss had widened by 59% to 443 million ringgit ($138 million) in the January-to-March period.
That marked that the fifth straight quarter of losses for the airline.
Khazanah, which has invested more than $1bn into the airline in recent years, had previously indicated that a major restructuring was on the cards.
On Friday, the state fund said it would look at restructuring all aspects of Malaysia Airlines’ operations including its business model, finances and human capital.
“Nothing less will be required in order to revive our national airline to be profitable as a commercial entity and to serve its function as a critical national development entity,” the fund said in a statement.
New clashes in eastern Ukraine have forced the international forensics team to halt operations in part of the vast crash site of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17.
Observers had to withdraw from one village when they heard artillery fire although work is still continuing across much of the area.
MH17 went down on July 17 with the loss of all 298 passengers and crew.
The US and Ukraine say pro-Russian rebels probably shot down the jet with a missile but rebels deny the claim.
Alexander Hug, the deputy chief monitor with the Ukraine mission of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), told AFP a visit to the village of Petropavlivka had been agreed with the rebels and Ukrainian forces.
New clashes in eastern Ukraine have forced the international forensics team to halt operations in part of the vast crash site of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17
About 70 Dutch and Australian experts are scouring a site of some 20 sq km.
A spokesman for the Dutch team said it was still focusing on searching for human remains, although security is also a key issue.
Neither the rebels nor Ukrainian forces are in full control of the site.
The Dutch team has flown in from the Netherlands two dogs trained to search for human remains and another two specialist dogs are on their way from Belgium.
The Australian team also has specialist equipment – a mini-drone fitted with a camera – but it has not yet been given permission by the rebels to fly it.
The US and Ukraine say pro-Russian rebels probably shot down the plane with a missile supplied from Russia.
The rebels say it could have been brought down by a Ukrainian fighter jet.
Most of those who died were Dutch nationals.
More than 220 coffins have now been sent back to the Netherlands.
Separately, a senior adviser to the rebels confirmed that extrajudicial killings had been carried out in eastern Ukraine “to prevent chaos”.
Dutch and Australian forensic experts have found human remains at the site of the flight MH17 crash in east Ukraine.
They made their discovery on their first full day of searching at the site, an area of some 13.5 sq miles inside the conflict zone.
Local search parties found 227 of the 298 victims earlier and they were flown to the Netherlands for identification.
Fighting still rages, with 10 Ukrainian soldiers killed nearby on Thursday.
Dutch and Australian forensic experts have found human remains at the site of the flight MH17 crash in east Ukraine
The fighting between government troops and pro-Russian separatist rebels had previously prevented the investigators reaching the area.
Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 airliner came down on July 17 with the loss of all 298 passengers and crew, while flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.
After Ukraine’s military declared a unilateral one-day suspension of operations against the rebels in Donetsk region on Thursday, an exploratory visit was made by the forensic experts, followed by the full deployment on Friday.
It is now unclear whether Ukraine’s army or separatist forces control the site, as fighting continues nearby.
The head of the search mission, Pieter-Jaap Aalbersberg, announced that it had completed its first day of work and had recovered human remains which would be sent to the Netherlands.
He said the mission was moving to a new base in the Donetsk town of Soledar.
The investigators had travelled in 16 vehicles to the crash site, outside the village of Grabove, along with monitors from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).
Artillery fire could be heard periodically somewhere in the distance during the work on Friday, AP news agency reports.
International forensic scientists have reached the crash site of Malaysia Airlines plane in east Ukraine after the government halted military operations.
Australian and Dutch police experts arrived in a convoy of Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) monitors.
Fighting between government and rebel forces had prevented them getting there for nearly a week.
Australia believes that around 80 bodies remain at the crash site.
Explosions were reportedly heard near the site after their arrival.
A journalist for AFP news agency heard several “powerful” blasts and saw a plume of smoke less than 6 miles from the crash site.
Russian aviation experts are also in Ukraine, hoping to visit the site.
The Malaysia Airlines plane crashed on 17 July in eastern Ukraine, with the deaths of all 298 people on board.
The rebels deny that they shot it down with a missile by mistake.
Officials in Russia, which has been accused by the US and others of supplying the rebels with advanced weaponry, suggest that Ukraine’s own armed forces downed the jet – a charge rejected by Kiev.
International forensic scientists have reached the crash site of Malaysia Airlines plane in east Ukraine after the government halted military operations
Russia has come under increased pressure to end its support for the rebels despite having continually denied claims that it is arming and training them.
OSCE monitors on the ground said in a tweet that they had reached the crash site with the Dutch and Australian investigators after using a new access route.
Getting out of their cars, they stopped for a minute’s silence in remembrance of those killed almost two weeks ago to the hour.
The Dutch justice ministry told AFP the Dutch-Australian team was so far only a “reconnaissance” mission but would hopefully pave the way for more experts to visit soon.
The Netherlands lost 193 of its citizens in the crash while Australia lost 27 and Malaysia 43.
Speaking on a visit to Kiev, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said she had been told that 80 bodies could still be at the crash site.
“We are determined to access the site, so that we can collect the remains with some dignity and return them to the Netherlands where they can be identified,” she said.
“And then the grieving families across the world who lost 298 people can have some closure.”
Malaysian PM Najib Razak said on a visit to the Netherlands that a team of 68 Malaysian police officers had arrived in Kiev to help with the investigation.
Speaking at a news conference, Najib Razak and his Dutch counterpart, Mark Rutte, said they were united in mourning.
Mark Rutte outlined their three shared priorities: to repatriate the rest of the passengers’ remains from Ukraine, to establish the cause of the crash and to bring those responsible to justice.
The crash area appears to be still under the control of rebel fighters, an AP news agency journalist at the scene said.
A Russian delegation led by Oleg Storchevoy, deputy head of Russia’s federal air transport agency Rosaviatsia, arrived in Kiev earlier.
“Russian experts intend to meet the head of the investigative commission… and hand over all the materials that the chairman of the commission had previously asked for,” Rosaviatsia said in a statement.
“Today, the Russian representatives will also try to reach the crash area of the Boeing 777 and together with specialists from the international investigative commission examine the state of parts of the aircraft at the site.”
There was no comment on the Russians’ involvement from Ukrainian and Dutch officials approached by AP.
The press service for Ukraine’s “anti-terrorist operation” said troops would refrain from combat operations in the Donetsk region, except in self-defense, in order to allow investigators to do their work on Thursday.
According to the UN’s human rights chief, Navi Pillay, the downing of the Malaysia Airlines plane in Ukraine may be a “war crime”.
Pro-Russia Ukrainian rebels and the Ukrainian authorities have accused each other of shooting down flight MH17.
A Ukrainian official said on Monday that MH17’s data recorders show it came down due to “massive explosive decompression” caused by a rocket.
Meanwhile, heavy fighting has again prevented an international police force from reaching the crash site.
The Ukrainian military said it was battling separatists for control of several towns near the site in eastern Ukraine.
All 298 people on board the airliner – mostly Dutch – died on July 17.
The downing of the Malaysia Airlines plane in Ukraine may be considered a war crime
International police want to help secure the huge site so that plane wreckage and human remains can be examined by international crash experts.
Most of the bodies have been removed, many of them repatriated to the Netherlands.
“This violation of international law, given the prevailing circumstances, may amount to a war crime,” Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said of the downing of MH17.
“Every effort will be made to ensure that anyone committing serious violations of international law including war crimes will be brought to justice, no matter who they are,” she said.
Navi Pillay spoke as the latest UN report on Ukraine suggested at least 1,129 people have been killed and 3,442 wounded in the Ukraine conflict since mid-April.
The conflict has displaced more than 200,000 people, many of whom have fled east to neighboring Russia.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian security spokesman Andriy Lysenko told reporters on Monday that recovered flight data showed the aircraft crashed due to a massive, explosive loss of pressure after being punctured multiple times by shrapnel.
Russia has warned that new EU sanctions against it over the Ukraine crisis will jeopardize security co-operation against terror.
The Russian foreign ministry said the EU would bear the blame for the move which sees 15 officials and 18 entities subject to asset freezes and visa bans.
The EU and the US accuse Russia of backing Ukraine’s rebels. Moscow denies this.
Meanwhile, the last remains of the victims of the crashed Malaysia Airlines jet flew out of eastern Ukraine for the Netherlands.
The departure of the aircraft from the city of Kharkiv with 38 coffins brings the total number of bodies sent for identification to 227.
Russia has warned that new EU sanctions against it over the Ukraine crisis will jeopardize security co-operation against terror
The Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur crashed on July 17, killing all 298 people – including 193 Dutch nationals – on board.
Pro-Russian separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine have been accused of downing the plane by a missile.
Russia has frequently denied sending heavy weapons into Ukraine. Moscow has suggested the plane could have been shot down by the Ukrainian military. Ukraine has denied the charge.
The fighting in eastern Ukraine erupted in April and is believed to have claimed more than 1,000 lives.
In a statement, the Russian foreign ministry said the new EU sanctions showed that the 28-member bloc was taking “a complete turn away from joint work with Russia on international and regional security, including the fight against the spread of weapons of mass destruction, terrorism, organized crime and other challenges”.
“We believe these decisions will be greeted enthusiastically by international terrorists.”
In a separate statement, the Russian ministry also accused the US of “an unrelenting campaign of slander against Russia”.
The EU sanctions were agreed after lengthy negotiations in Brussels on Friday.
The senior Russian officials targeted include Federal Security Service head Alexander Bortnikov, foreign intelligence head Mikhail Fradkov and Nikolai Patrushev, the secretary of the Russian security council.
The leader of Russia’s southern Chechnya republic, Ramzan Kadyrov, is also on the list.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s daughter, Maria Putina, has fled her Dutch home as fury grows over Malaysia Airlines tragedy.
Maria Putina, 29, lived just 20 miles from the airport where the doomed jet departed from.
News that Maria Putina was living among a nation of people still fuming over Russia’s role in the downing of Flight MH17 was only going to spark more outrage.
Once it became known Maria Putina had a $3.2 million apartment not far from the Dutch airport where the doomed jet left on its final, tragic journey, the angry protests quickly started.
Maria Putina and her Dutch boyfriend, Jorrit Faasen, 34, who lived in a riverside flat in Voorschoten on the outskirts of the Dutch capital, fled amid the mounting fury.
One resident said tonight: “We have not seen her here since the plane went down.
Vladimir Putin’s daughter, Maria Putina, has fled her Dutch home as fury grows over Malaysia Airlines tragedy.
“She moved in last year and it was all kept quiet for a while. But once it became known who she was, there was certainly some disquiet. And now this has happened. She is obviously not responsible for her father’s actions but we don’t want demonstrations around here.”
Many blame President Vladimir Putin for Malaysia Airlines disaster, insisting Kremlin chiefs supplied the missile that blasted the MH17 flight out of the sky at 30,000ft – killing 298 passengers and crew, including 193 Dutch.
Pro-Russian Ukrainian separatists control the region where it crashed. Although they deny being responsible and claim the Ukrainian shot it down in a blame game that last night was showing no sign of ending.
The bodies will be identified in the town of Hilversum, near Amsterdam.
Mayor Pieter Broertjes also spoke of his anger at the presence of Vladimir Putin’s daughter in Holland.
He said: “We could also deport Putin’s daughter, she lives in The Netherlands. Then you’ve got a whole different signal you could give.”
Pieter Broertjes later apologized for the comments and admitted they were “not wise”.
But he added: “They stemmed from a feeling of helplessness that many would recognize.”
Maria Putina’s position in Holland was made more perilous after Ukrainian activists published her address on websites.
Her whereabouts were last night unknown.
Vladimir Putin is reported to have a personal wealth of more than $65 billion, with properties around the world including a $320 million palace on the Black Sea.
Jorrit Faasen is also understood to be wealthy in his own right. He worked as an executive for Russian energy giant Gazprom.
There were reports Maria Putina and Jorrit Faasen could be back in Moscow where they can be better protected by Vladimir Putin.
The only existing pictures of Maria Putina are from when Vladimir Putin first came to power in 1999, when he was pictured with her, her sister Ekaterina, and his ex-wife Lyudmila.
Known as Masha to friends, Maria Putina was born in Petersburg and was named after her dad’s mother.
Maria Putina is thought to have studied biology at St Petersburg State University – where Vladimir Putin attended.
Vladimir Putin is extremely protective of his daughters’ privacy.
Yekaterina Putina, 27, is believed to have married the son of a South Korean admiral, though her life is also shrouded in mystery.
Pieter Broertjes, the mayor of Dutch city of Hilversum, used a radio interview on July 23 to call for Vladimir Putin’s daughter, Maria Putina, to be expelled from Netherlands in the wake of Malaysia Airlines disaster.
Maria Putina, 29, is said to live in Voorschoten with her Dutch boyfriend.
More than half of the 298 people killed when Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crashed in eastern Ukraine last week were Dutch.
Maria Putina is said to live in Voorschoten with her Dutch boyfriend, Jorrit Faassen
Pieter Broertjes later apologized for his remarks via Twitter, saying they were “not wise”, but adding that “they stemmed from a feeling of helplessness that many will recognize”.
The Dutch government has declared July 23 a day of national mourning and marked the bodies’ arrival with a minute’s silence across the country.
Ukrainians living in Holland have also called for a peaceful protest outside Maria Putina’s flat, according to De Telegraaf newspaper. It published a photograph of the apartment complex where Maria Putina is said to live alongside the article on Monday.
Very little is known about the Russian president’s two daughters, Maria and Yekaterina (Katya), who are completely sheltered from media attention and have never been officially photographed as adults.
However, there have been persistent rumors linking Maria Putina with Dutch citizen Jorrit Faassen. Dutch media claimed that Vladimir Putin visited the couple last year, something his spokesman denied.
Jorrit Faassen has held senior roles in the Russian firms Gazprom and Stroytransgaz, a pipeline manufacturer, and hit the headlines when he was reportedly assaulted by the bodyguards of Russian banker Matvei Urin in a road-rage incident in Moscow in 2010.
Matvei Urin was later arrested and jailed for fraud.
The US State Department says it has evidence that Russia has fired artillery across the border targeting Ukrainian military positions.
Russia also intends “to deliver heavier and more powerful multiple rocket launchers” to pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine, the US State Department said.
Russia has frequently denied sending any rocket launchers into Ukraine.
The US comment comes a week after Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crashed in eastern Ukraine, with the rebels widely accused of shooting it down.
The US State Department says it has evidence that Russia has fired artillery across the border targeting Ukrainian military positions
Multinational efforts to find the cause of the crash are under way, led by the Netherlands which lost 193 of its citizens. All 298 people on board the flight died in the crash.
Dutch PM Mark Rutte has announced 40 unarmed military police are being sent to the crash site as part of efforts to find the last MH17 victims.
He said there would be more people working on the crash site and his government was looking at ways to make it more secure.
The US, which has repeatedly accused Russia of fuelling separatist sentiment in eastern Ukraine, says it believes that rebels shot down flight MH17 with a Russian-provided SA-11 Buk surface-to-air missile, probably by mistake.
Leading rebels in eastern Ukraine have given conflicting accounts of whether they had control of a Buk launcher at the time the plane was downed.
State department spokeswoman Marie Harf told reporters on Thursday the US had evidence derived from “human intelligence information” showing Russia firing artillery into eastern Ukraine.
She said the US would not provide further details so as not to compromise sources and methods of intelligence collection.
Earlier on Thursday, the EU said it was adding 15 people and 18 entities to the list of sanctions against Russia and Ukraine.
It comes as two more planes carrying the remains of some of the passengers and crew of flight MH17 arrived in the Netherlands for forensic identification at a barracks south of the Dutch city of Hilversum.
Two jets carrying bodies from crashed Malaysia Airlines plane have landed in the Netherlands where a day of mourning for the 298 victims has been declared.
Experts there will begin to identify the dead, most of whom were Dutch.
Pro-Russian rebels have been widely accused of shooting down the Malaysia Airlines plane on July 17.
UK government sources say intelligence shows rebels deliberately tampered with evidence, moving bodies and placing parts from other planes in the debris.
As fighting continued in eastern Ukraine on Wednesday, officials in Kiev said that two aircraft, thought to be military jets, had been downed just 20 miles from the MH17 crash site.
The officials had no information on the cause of the crashes, or the fate of the pilots.
Planes carrying bodies from crashed MH17 flight have landed in the Netherlands (photo EPA)
US intelligence officials had earlier released evidence to the media that they said showed the separatists’ involvement in bringing down flight MH17.
Rebels have also been accused of exaggerating the number of bodies transported from the crash site to the town of Kharkiv on Tuesday.
They had claimed 282 bodies had been loaded on to a train, but experts said only 200 could be verified.
The two military planes – one Dutch and the other Australian – carrying the first 40 coffins landed at Eindhoven air base to be met by members of the Dutch royal family, PM Mark Rutte and hundreds of victims’ relatives.
Churches around the Netherlands rang their bells for five minutes before the planes landed.
A fleet of hearses was standing by to convey the bodies to the Korporaal van Oudheusden barracks south of the city of Hilversum for identification.
PM Mark Rutte said that process could take months.
Earlier, the coffins had been slowly loaded on to the planes by a military guard of honor at Kharkiv airport in eastern Ukraine.
Ambassadors, officials and soldiers gathered to see off the planes.
Australian government envoy Angus Houston said the ceremony was intended to give the victims the “respect and dignity they deserve” after a “tragedy of unspeakable proportions”.
In a separate process, the “black box” flight-data recorders from MH17 have arrived in the UK, where they will be examined at the headquarters of the Air Accidents Investigation Branch in Farnborough.
A rebel militiaman told Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera that he had been ordered to the crash site minutes after the MH17 plane had gone down.
He said his commanders had told him: “We’ve just shot down one of the Kiev fascists’ planes.”
The militiaman said: “We thought we were looking for baled-out Ukrainian pilots but instead we found dead civilians.”
Earlier in Washington, officials from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence presented evidence they had gathered on the involvement of the rebels.
“It’s a solid case that it’s an SA-11 [missile] that was fired from eastern Ukraine under conditions the Russians helped create,” said the officials, who requested that their names not be reported.
They said the “most plausible explanation” for the shooting down of the plane was that rebels mistook it for another aircraft.
The bodies of victims from crashed MH17 plane have been moved out of the rebel-held area in eastern Ukraine.
The remains, carried by train, have arrived in the city of Kharkiv, outside rebel territory.
Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crashed in an area held by pro-Russia rebels on July 17, killing all 298 people on board.
Meanwhile, international monitors say parts of the wreckage have been changed and cut into since they first saw them.
MH17 remains have arrived in the city of Kharkiv, outside rebel territory
Western nations say there is growing evidence the rebels shot down the plane using a missile supplied by Russia.
Russia has suggested Ukrainian government forces are to blame.
Most of those who died in the crash of the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 were Dutch, and the first remains are due to be flown from Kharkiv to the Dutch city of Eindhoven on Wednesday.
From there, they will go to a facility in the Dutch city of Hilversum for identification – a process which could take months, Dutch PM Mark Rutte warned.
The bodies will be kept in refrigerated rail carriages in Kharkiv while they are being prepared for transport, a spokeswoman for the Dutch forensics team has said.
Countries directly affected by the disaster, such as the Netherlands, Australia, and the UK, have been concerned that the crash site was not properly sealed off, with the risk that valuable evidence could be put at risk.
European Union foreign ministers are meeting to consider further sanctions against Russia over its alleged backing for the rebels – something Moscow denies.
Sky News reporter Colin Brazier has admitted he made errors to handle Malaysia Airlines passengers’ belongings at the MH17 crash site in Ukraine.
Writing in The Guardian, Colin Brazier said the crash site was unchecked and he was “free to walk around at will”.
However, the journalist called his “gaffe” a “serious error of judgement” and said he cried on-air after seeing a child’s flask.
More than 100 people complained to UK’s media watchdog Ofcom after Colin Brazier’s live Sunday lunchtime broadcast.
The complaints are currently being assessed before the broadcasting regulator decides whether to launch an investigation.
The report showed Colin Brazier picking up items from an open suitcase.
Colin Brazier has admitted he made errors to handle Malaysia Airlines passengers’ belongings at the MH17 crash site in Ukraine (photo Sky News)
He dropped them back into the luggage saying “we shouldn’t really be doing this I suppose, really”.
A Sky News spokesperson said both Colin Brazier and the station “apologize profusely for any offence caused”.
Writing his version of events following a vociferous backlash on social media, Colin Brazier said other journalists were acting on the freedom they had on the crash site, and “foolishly took that as a precedent”.
Colin Brazier said the moment he realized he was doing something wrong “came too late” and just after the moment when he began crying, which was not picked up on poor quality replays of his report on the internet.
“At the weekend I got things wrong. If there was someone to apologize to in person, I would,” he wrote in his article.
Colin Brazier added his on-air apology was “only selectively quoted by those determined to see what I did as a powerful example of journalistic vulturism”.
He said in a live and open-ended item from Ukraine, there was “no obvious frame of reference” but the crew chose “to avoid pointing a live camera anywhere a corpse might be seen”.
Colin Brazier described how he reported from the site of another air disaster at Lake Constance in 2004, where “within hours police had sealed off a sterile area and no journalists were allowed in, while forensic investigators and recovery teams went in”.
He described the Ukraine site as a lawless warzone where journalists where not kept at bay.
Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crashed over rebel-held territory in eastern Ukraine on July 17. All 298 people on board were killed.
Scammers are using Malaysia Airlines plane crash in east Ukraine to spread objectionable links, online security experts have warned.
Links to different websites disguised as a video of the Malaysia Airlines crash were posted on a Facebook page dedicated to one victim.
Many tweets have been posted that appeared to report the disaster, but actually included spam links.
One expert said the social networks should take more responsibility for removing them.
Scammers are using Malaysia Airlines plane crash in east Ukraine to spread objectionable links
A Facebook community page dedicated to Liam Sweeney, one of the 298 people victims, uses his name and picture.
Its sole post is a link entitled: “Video Camera Caught the moment plane MH17 Crash over Ukraine”.
Twitter’s rules state: “User abuse and technical abuse are not tolerated on Twitter.com, and may result in permanent suspension.
“Any accounts engaging in the activities specified below may be subject to permanent suspension: If you post multiple unrelated updates to a topic using #, trending or popular topic, or promoted trend.”
Many previous disasters had been exploited in a similar way and that it expected to see further exploitation of the MH17 crash.
Ukrainian separatists have handed over two flight-data recorders from the downed MH17 plane to Malaysian experts.
The handover came hours after the UN Security Council voted unanimously to demand immediate international access to the crash site.
EU foreign ministers will consider more sanctions against Russia on Tuesday.
The Malaysian Airlines passenger jet crashed last Thursday, killing all 298 people on board.
Western nations say there is growing evidence that flight MH17 was hit by a Russian-supplied missile fired by rebels, but Russia has suggested Ukrainian government forces are to blame.
EU foreign ministers, meeting in Brussels, are thought likely to discuss expanding the list of Russian officials targeted by sanctions, but have so far steered clear of targeting whole sectors of the Russian economy.
Both the EU and the US imposed sanctions on Moscow following its annexation of Crimea and the outbreak of hostilities in eastern Ukraine.
Ukrainian separatists have handed over two flight-data recorders from the downed MH17 plane to Malaysian experts
Experts say the “black boxes” will reveal the exact time of the incident and the altitude and precise position of the aircraft.
They should also contain the cockpit voice recorder, which it is hoped will provide clues as to what the cause of the crash was.
The head of the Malaysian delegation at the handover in Donetsk told reporters that the recorders were “in good condition”.
The handover followed talks between the rebel commander and self-styled Prime Minister of the Donetsk People’s Republic Alexander Borodai and the Malaysian PM Najib Razak, according to a statement of Najib Razak.
The Malaysian prime minister also said those talks led to the rebels agreeing to allow the bodies to be transported to Kharkiv and international investigators to access the area.
“In recent days, there were times I wanted to give greater voice to the anger and grief that the Malaysian people feel and that I feel,” he said.
“But sometimes, we must work quietly in the service of a better outcome.”
Pro-Russian rebels allowed a freight train carrying the bodies of 282 passengers to be moved from a town near the crash site to Donetsk on Monday.
The Malaysian experts and a Dutch delegation are travelling with the train to the city of Kharkiv, where it is expected to arrive later on Tuesday.
From there, the bodies will be prepared for transfer by air to the Netherlands where forensic experts will evaluate and identify them.
Meanwhile a UN resolution, proposed by Australia, was passed calling for a “full, thorough and independent international investigation” into the downing of the plane over Grabove on July 17.
It also demanded that those responsible “be held to account and that all states co-operate fully with efforts to establish accountability”.
Pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine have allowed Dutch investigators to examine bodies from the crashed Malaysia Airlines plane at a railway station.
The three Dutch experts said the train might leave the town of Torez later.
All 298 people on board flight MH17 died when it crashed over the rebel-held area on July 17. The US and other nations say there is growing evidence of Russian complicity in the crash.
Meanwhile, heavy fighting is reported in the main rebel-held city of Donetsk.
The clashes – involving heavy weapons – are continuing near the city’s airport and the railway station, eyewitnesses say.
At least three civilians were reported killed, and one multi-storey building was seen on fire.
The Dutch experts from the Disaster Victims Identification team are the first international investigators to arrive in the region where the Boeing 777 went down after being reportedly hit by a missile.
Monitors from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) have been at the accident site, but their access to the wreckage was limited by the rebels.
Pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine have allowed Dutch investigators to examine bodies from the crashed Malaysia Airlines plane at a railway station
On Monday, the Dutch experts examined some of the 196 bodies kept in refrigerator wagons in Torez, some 9 miles away from the crash site.
“I think the storage of the bodies is of good quality,” team leader Peter van Leit said after the inspection.
The investigators added that they had urged the rebels to allow the train to leave.
Correspondents in Torez said the smell of decay emanating from the carriages was overwhelming.
The Dutch experts also later visited the crash site, where some passengers’ remains were still lying in bags exposed to summer heat.
Russia’s media fears MH17 will shape future diplomacy.
“The situation surrounding the Malaysian Boeing 777 shot down over Ukraine is becoming a key factor in world politics,” says business daily Kommersant.
However, Russian liberal thrice-weekly Novaya Gazeta diverts from the party line today: “There is practically no doubt that the airliner was shot down by the separatists.”
Ukraine’s press continues to accuse Moscow. Popular tabloid Segodnya leads with “Ukraine has enough evidence of Russia’s guilt”.
Russian and Ukraine media agree on the further souring of relations.
Business daily Capital says: “The downing of the airliner in Donbas turns the regional conflict into an international one. Peace will not come soon.”
A Malaysian team of 133 officials and experts, comprising of search and recovery personnel, forensics experts, technical and medical experts has arrived in Ukraine. A separate UK group of air accident investigators is also there.
However, the government in Kiev says it has been unable to establish a safe corridor to the crash site.
There has been international outcry over the way rebels have handled the situation, delaying access to the site and allowing untrained volunteers to comb through the area.
The rebels have said they will hand over MH17’s flight recorders to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), but the US state department has accused rebels of tampering with other potential evidence.
Heavy machinery could be seen moving plane debris at the crash site on Sunday.
Russia again on Monday denied allegations it supplied the separatists with an anti-aircraft system known as Buk that was allegedly used to shoot down flight MH17.
According to new reports, the remains of up to 196 people from Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash in Ukraine have been loaded on to refrigerated rail wagons, to be taken to an unknown destination.
All 298 people on board of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 died when a missile reportedly hit the plane on July 17.
Western countries have criticized pro-Russian rebels controlling the area for restricting access to the crash site.
The rebels say they will hand MH17’s flight recorders to the International Civil Aviation Organization.
Ukraine’s government and the rebels have accused each other of shooting down the Boeing 777, which was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.
The remains of up to 196 people from Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash have been loaded on to refrigerated rail wagons, to be taken to an unknown destination
The US state department said there had been multiple reports of bodies and aircraft parts being removed, and potential evidence tampered with, by rebels.
Heavy machinery could be seen moving plane debris around at the crash site, AP news agency reported.
Separately, UK broadcaster Sky News apologized after one of its presenters was shown going through items in a suitcase belonging to one of the passengers.
Fighting is reportedly continuing in eastern Ukraine between the separatist rebels and government forces in a conflict which erupted in April and is believed to have claimed more than 1,000 lives.
The freight train with its five sealed wagons has been standing at Torez railway station, 9 miles from the crash site.
The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) mission in the region said in a tweet it had been told that 196 bodies were on the rail wagons in Torez.
An OSCE team was allowed to see three of the wagons and observed “tagged body bags”, without being able to verify the figures. It’s not clear where the train will take the bodies.
In a mark of respect to the dead, Malaysia Airline says it is retiring the MH17 flight number. The airline did the same for MH370, which disappeared in March with 239 passengers and crew on board.
Russia denies any involvement in the downing of the Malaysian plane, and has rejected Western allegations that it is stoking the Ukraine conflict.
The passenger list released by Malaysia Airlines shows the plane was carrying 193 Dutch nationals (including one with dual US nationality), 43 Malaysians (including 15 crew), 27 Australians, 12 Indonesians and 10 Britons (including one with dual South African nationality), four Germans, four Belgians, three from the Philippines, and one each from Canada and New Zealand.
Memorial services and vigils have been held in many countries, including Australia, Malaysia and the Netherlands.
Russia has been asked by the western countries to put pressure on Ukrainian rebels to allow unhindered access to the site of Thursday’s Malaysia Airlines crash.
Dutch PM Mark Rutte said he had told Russian President Vladimir Putin that time was “running out” to show he could help. Most crash victims were Dutch.
The US and Britain also told Russia full access to the area was needed.
Memorial services are being held in Australia, with more planned in other countries later on Sunday.
In Melbourne, a special mass was held for the HIV experts and campaigners on the flight who were making their way to the city for an international AIDS conference.
The passenger list released by Malaysia Airlines shows the plane was carrying 193 Dutch nationals (including one with dual US nationality), 43 Malaysians (including 15 crew), 27 Australians, 12 Indonesians and 10 Britons (including one with dual South African nationality), 4 Germans, 4 Belgians, three from the Philippines, and one each from Canada and New Zealand.
Both Ukraine and the pro-Russian rebels have accused each other of shooting down the Boeing 777, which was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.
Flight MH17 was reportedly hit by a missile over a rebel-held area in Donetsk region on Thursday. All 298 people on board died.
International observers have had their movements around the crash site restricted by pro-Russia militiamen.
Russia has been asked by the western countries to put pressure on Ukrainian rebels to allow unhindered access to the site of Malaysia Airlines crash
The US said it was “deeply concerned” at the limited access to the site.
“It is critical that there be a full, credible, and unimpeded international investigation as quickly as possible,” said a statement from the State Department in Washington.
Ukraine has accused militiamen at the site of the Malaysia Airlines crash of trying to destroy evidence of an “international crime”.
In a news conference on Saturday, Mark Rutte said he had had an “intense” phone call with Vladimir Putin.
“I told him <<Time is running out for you to show the world that you have good intentions>>,” Mark Rutte said.
He added that Dutch people were “furious” at pictures of bodies being carried across the open country, and called on Vladimir Putin “to show that he will do what is expected of him and will exert his influence”.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel also spoke to Vladimir Putin on Saturday, urging his co-operation.
Monitors from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) are at the crash site.
OSCE spokesman Michael Bociurkiw said access had improved compared to Friday and that the monitors were seeing parts of the terrain they had not seen before, but that their movements were still being restricted.
The monitors are there to observe the site ahead of the arrival of international investigators.
Tougher EU sanctions against Russia will be needed if Moscow does not change its “approach” to the downing of the plane, UK Prime Minister David Cameron has indicated.
David Cameron said the EU should stand up for its principles, amid claims Russia-backed rebels were involved.
PM David Cameron and his Australian counterpart Tony Abbott agreed the two countries would apply “further pressure” at the UN Security Council “for swift and unhindered access” to the site, Cameron’s office said.
US Secretary of State John Kerry discussed the disaster in a phone conversation with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
John Kerry made clear that the US was “very concerned” over reports that bodies and debris from the site had been removed or tampered with, the state department said.
On Friday, President Barack Obama said Malaysia Airlines plane had been destroyed by a missile fired from a rebel area, and that insurgents would not be capable of carrying out such an attack without Moscow’s support.
Russia denies any involvement and has rejected Western allegations that it is stoking the Ukraine conflict.