New MH17 salvage mission in the cards

The MH17-repatriation mission at the crash site near the village of Grabovo (Photo: Rijksoverheid). (The MH17-repatriation mission at the crash site near the village of Grabovo (Photo: Rijksoverheid))

A Ukrainian salvage service is planning another mission to search for and recover both MH17 wreckage and victims' belongings, the chairman of a local village council said to BNR. Natalja Volosjina, in charge of the village council of Petropavlovka, believes it will be safe enough for another salvage mission after the winter, and she hopes that a team from the Netherlands will also take part.

Petropavlovka is one of the three towns in the self-proclaimed independent Donetsk People's Republic where MH17 fell from the sky. Volosjina believes that a new salvage mission could happen in the spring because, she claims, there is hardly any fighting in the area between Ukrainian military and Russian-backed separatists. Right now, the only thing preventing a recovery operation are the winter conditions. 

 If local authorities are searching the crash site again, it is important that someone from the Dutch or Australian authorities goes along to see if anything can be found, CDA parliamentarian Pieterr Omtzigt said to BNR. "The reason - the discovery of bones that seemed to belong to victims by Dutch journalist Michel Spekkers - makes clear that it makes sense to take a good look again in certain places", he said. 

The Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 was shot down over eastern Ukraine in July 2014, killing all 298 people on board. 196 of them were Dutch. Since the accident, there's been numerous salvage operations, but some wreckage still remains in the crash area. Early this month the remaining MH17 wreckage made headlines when Dutch journalist Michel Spekkers visited the crash site himself and brought some items back, including a piece of bone that was identified as belonging to one of the victims.