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Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Three-man expert team to enter crash site, says Malaysia's transport minister

Published on Jul 22, 2014 9:12 AM
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko (left) welcoming Malaysian Foreign Minister Anifah Aman (centre) and Malaysia's transport minister Liow Tiong Lai (right) during their meeting in Kiev on July 21, 2014, prior to talks. -- PHOTO: AFP

KIEV (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Malaysia has sent a three-man expert team to investigate the Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash site after getting assurances about their safety there.

Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said the government received assurances from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) on the team's safety.

He also noted that Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko had also guaranteed a 40km radius of safety around the crash site for investigators and rescuers to work safely.

"OSCE assured us that it had discussed this with the Ukrainian government and also the separatist group.

"It is happy with the security situation there, although it cannot guarantee it will be 100 per cent safe.

"But this is a national call. We need to investigate, find out the truth and bring justice for our people," he said in Kiev on Monday.

The team, who will send progress updates to Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) director-general Datuk Azharuddin Abdul Rahman, left at around 8pm (1am Tuesday Singapore time) by air to Kharkiv on Monday.

They will be handed over into the care of pro-Russian separatists at Donetsk and move to Torez.

The team members are DCA senior assistant directors Capt Philip Joseph Selvaraju, 42, Mohd Naemy Fahimy Mustapa, 38 and Malaysia Airlines engineering director Azahari Dahlan, 53.

They will join three experts from the Netherlands and one more expert from the International Civil Aviation Organisation there.

Liow also hailed Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak's announcement that the remains of 282 victims would be handed to representatives from the Netherlands.

"It is great news that we will be able to move the remains.

"We have been working on this," he said.

Liow said he and Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman would look into the details to ensure everything goes smoothly, including for the post-mortem and identification of bodies," he said.