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Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Tracing a perilous route to crash site

Published on Aug 1, 2014 6:32 AM
 
Ukrainian tanks stand guard near a field on July 31, 2014 in the village of Debaltseve, in the Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine. With hazards including blown-up railway bridges and unexploded shells and mines, the route chosen by international investigators to reach the MH17 crash site on Thursday was fraught with risks. -- PHOTO: AFP

DEBALTSEVE, Ukraine (AFP) - With hazards including blown-up railway bridges and unexploded shells and mines, the route chosen by international investigators to reach the MH17 crash site on Thursday was fraught with risks.

The government in Kiev had announced a "day of silence" to let the investigators work, but at one point a group of journalists following their convoy through rebel-controlled territory found the air filled with rapid bursts of shelling.

The team, consisting of Dutch and Australian experts as well as monitors from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), left the rebel-held city of Donetsk early Thursday morning moving in a convoy of three white SUVs clearly marked with the OSCE logo.

Their round trip charted a wide arc of around 500 kilometres (300 miles), despite the crash site being only some 60 kilometres (40 miles) from their base in Donetsk. Much of the journey took them through idyllic countryside with fields of sunflowers and farmers making hay.

 
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