Investigators finally reach MH17 site
A group of air crash investigators and international monitors finally managed to reach the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 early Thursday afternoon, according to the mission's official Twitter account. The Dutch and Australian investigators joined the Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) for the Ukraine, set up by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.
The group claimed to use a "new access route" to reach the location, an effort that had been stymied in the two weeks since the crash by ongoing warfare between Ukraine's military and pro-Russian separatists in the region, along with reports of other obstruction attempts by militants.
Kiev agreed to a 24-hour cease fire earlier Thursday. As that news was announced, the team of investigators and monitors was stopped at a Ukrainian checkpoint for nearly two hours before being allowed to proceed, according to newspaper De Telegraaf.
Malaysia Airlines flight 17 crashed on July 17 in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine after an apparent surface-to-air missile strike while flying towards Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The Boeing 777 took off from Amsterdam at about 12:15 p.m. carrying 298 people, of which 195 were Dutch nationals.
OSCE SMM monitors reach #MH17 crash site for 1st time in almost week, accompanied by 4 Dutch, Australian experts. Used new route to access
Our convoy of SMM monitors and Australian, Dutch experts making steady progress towards #MH17 crash site, using a new access route
Our convoy of monitors, experts is on the move outside of Donetsk. Today marks 2 weeks since the tragic #MH17 disaster.