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Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Transport minister to lead team to Ukraine crash site

Published on Jul 19, 2014 1:46 PM
Malaysia's Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai (centre) addresses the media at a hotel near the Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang on July 18, 2014. Mr Liow will lead a team of medical staff and investigators to the crash site of Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight MH17. -- PHOTO: AFP

MALAYSIA'S Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai will head to Ukraine's capital Kiev today to lead a team of medical staff and investigators to the crash site of Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight MH17, after it was downed by a suspected missile strike over eastern Ukraine on Thursday night.

Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai told the local media on Saturday that the 30-member team had landed at Kiev on Friday night, but have yet to gain access to the crash site, where debris and bodies of passengers were located.

All 298 people on board, including 192 Dutch nationals and 44 Malaysians, were killed, latest statistics by MAS showed.

"We have sent our team over and are working on getting access to the crash site," Mr Liow said at Sama-Sama Hotel on Saturday. "I am also leaving for Kiev later today."

Mr Liow added that it is not confirmed on whether the black box belonging to the MH17 was already found and retrieved. "We have to double-check on that," he said.

Former acting transport minister and current Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said the government's priority is to get its investigators to the crash site and ensure that they have proper security and that the plane debris was not tampered with.

"We want to get to the bottom of it," he told local reporters at Sama-Sama Hotel before heading for a meeting with Mr Liow.

Mr Hishammuddin added that he and Prime Minister Najib Razak have spoken to world leaders again to verify facts on the tragedy.

"All that is in place until facts are verified whether it was brought down, how it was brought down and who brought it down," he said.