Ukraine plane crash victims put in refrigerated wagons
Twenty-seven more bodies were found on Sunday along with 20 fragments of bodies at the site where a Malaysian airliner crashed, Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman said.
He told a news conference that the bodies of 192 of the 298 people killed when the plane plunged into the steppe in eastern Ukraine on Thursday had been placed in refrigerated train wagons before being sent home for burial.
Western officials have voiced concern about the handling of the remains of the 298 people killed when the airliner crashed on Thursday and the Dutch foreign minister has said his country is "furious" to hear bodies were being "dragged around".
After lying for two days in the summer heat, by Sunday the bodies had been removed from a large swathe of the crash site, leaving only bloodstained military stretchers along the side of the road.
Emergency workers will now need to pick through the debris spread across rebel-held territory in Ukraine's steppe.
A spokesman for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which is monitoring the operation, said the team had been told that 167 bodies were in the train and that they had checked three of the refrigerator wagons.
Sergei Kavtaradze, a senior official of the pro-Russian rebels' self-proclaimed Donetsk People's republic, said all 196 of the bodies found so far had been loaded into the wagons in Torez, an eastern town in the Donetsk region.
"They will stay there for now, until the issue (of what to do with them) is resolved. We are waiting for the experts," he told Reuters.
Ukraine has accused the rebels of taking debris and bodies from the crash site in trucks, tampering with a scene that investigators need to be secure to have a chance of determining what, and who, caused the plane to crash.
Another rebel leader, Andrei Purgin, deputy prime minister of the self-proclaimed rebel Donetsk People's Republic, suggested the rebels were not to blame for the late arrival of the investigators.
The "must be walking from Kiev", Purgin told Reuters. "It was very difficult to get written approval ... for us to move the bodies .. to ensure that later they couldn't say that we savages had left the people in the sun."