MH17 Update: Details of Victims Start to Emerge as Ukraine Rebels Allow Access to Crash Site

MH17 Update: Details of Victims Start to Emerge as Ukraine Rebels Allow Access to Crash Site

Pro-Russian separatists are to give international investigators access to the crash site of the downed Malaysian Airlines jet in eastern Ukraine. The BBC reports that the rebels have pledged to secure the site and allow for bodies to be recovered.

Both sides in the conflict have blamed each other, with the Ukrainian government describing it as a “act of terror” and accusing Russian-backed rebels of shooting the plane down with a missile.

At a press conference earlier, Huib Gorter, Senior Vice President of Malaysian Airlines, confirmed that so far they have identified that 154 of the passengers were Dutch, 27 Australian, 43 Malaysian (including the 15 crew), 12 Indonesian, nine British, four German, three Philippino, and one Canadian.

The dead include several delegates heading to an Aids conference in Australian, including world-renowned researcher Joep Lange. According to the Telegraph, the first Briton has been named as Glenn Thomas, a former BBC journalist who worked for the World Health Organisation.

The Boeing 777 was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur when it was downed over eastern Ukraine. It fell around the border of the Luhansk and Shakhtarsk regions, in territory under rebel control, meaning that Ukrainian authorities have been unable to access it.

Ukraine has now declared the territory a no-fly zone, although flight data today showed that just about every plane in the region is avoiding the entire country.

It is the second disaster to hit Malaysia Airlines in less than a year, after flight MH370 disappeared in March and remains missing.

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