National Mourning Day Observed for Malaysian Passengers on MH17
More than a month after the airliner they were traveling on was shot out of the skies above eastern Ukraine, the bodies of 20 Malaysian passengers arrived back in Kuala Lumpur as Malaysia observed a national day of mourning.
Families of the victims of Malaysia Flight MH17 gathered at the Malaysian capital’s international airport for the repatriation ceremony, as a special chartered Malaysia Airlines Boeing 747 touched down just after 9.30 a.m. local time Friday after its journey from Amsterdam.
After the airliner taxied to its stand, it was met by pall bearers, who proceeded to unload the caskets into the waiting fleet of white hearses.
MH17, which was en route to Kuala Lumpur from Amsterdam, was shot down by a missile as it flew over Ukraine on July 17, killing all 298 passengers and crew on board.
Forty-three of those on board were Malaysians, including 15 crew members and two infants.
Investigators have been carrying out the difficult and painstaking task of recovering bodies from the crash site before transporting them to the Netherlands for identification — a process that could take months, Dutch authorities have warned.
About two-thirds of those killed were Dutch, with Malaysians and Australians making up a large proportion of the others.