English World

Team to re-enter site

KOTA BARU: TRANSPORT Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said investigators will re-enter the crash site of the Malaysia Airlines MH17 in eastern Ukraine in the next one or two weeks even though it is winter.

He said the Ukrainian and separatist forces had agreed on a ceasefire to enable the investigating team to re-enter the site.

“Both sides had given their consent to investigators to re-enter the site any time in the next one or two weeks,” he said after opening the National Road Safety Council annual general meeting here yesterday.

Flight MH17, carrying 298 passengers and crew, was brought down in eastern Ukraine on July 17, while en route to Kuala Lumpur from Amsterdam. Investigators have had difficulty re-entering the crash site because of the skirmishes between government forces and separatists.

Liow said priority would be given to collecting evidence and wreckage parts as they were important in the probe.

“The wreckage will be sent to the Netherlands first, and not Malaysia, as the investigation into the crash is chaired by the Dutch.

“If possible, we want to bring back all the parts for it (the plane) to be reconstructed so that investigators can determine where and how it was hit.”

He said 289 of the passengers on the flight had been identified, including all 44 Malaysians.

On the action of a family of a MH370 passenger to sue MAS and the authorities over the missing plane, Liow said the government respected the right of the family to take action.

“We sympathise with them and are with them in facing the grief. We will work with the next of kin and family members of MH370 and MH17.”

In a statement later, Liow said the remains of Puan Sri Siti Amirah Prawira Kusuma, the last Malaysian onboard MH17 to be identified, would be buried in the Netherlands following the request of her family members.

Siti Amirah, 83, was the step-grandmother of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein.

Liow also reiterated his call, originally made at the 203rd session of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) council last week, for ICAO member states to adopt mandatory procedures and protocols to improve safety and security.

These recommendations include mandatory timely reporting to ICAO of relevant information on possible flight risks.

-NST

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