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Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17: Pro-Russian Looters Rifle Through British Victim's Belongings And 'Take Bodies Of The Dead'

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MH17
An armed pro-Russia militant stands guard at the site of the crash of a Malaysian airliner carrying 298 people from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur in Grabove, in rebel-held east Ukraine, on July 18, 2014. Pro-Russian separatists in the region and officials in Kiev blamed each other for the crash, after the plane was apparently hit by a surface-to-air missile. Members of the UN Security Council demanded a full, independent investigation into the apparent shooting down of a Malaysia Airlines jet over U | DOMINIQUE FAGET via Getty Images

Disturbing reports have emerged of pro-Russian separatists removing 38 bodies, stealing from the dead and attempting to destroy evidence at the Malaysia Airlines crash scene.

The bodies of passengers which have been strewn across the crash site of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 for nearly 48 hours are finally being recovered by Ukraine authorities. But Ukraine has accused rebels of already tampering with victims and their luggage - removing 38 bodies from the scene.

Looters have reportedly robbed the bodies of victims of the passenger jet, including Newcastle United fan John Alder.

john alder

Freelance journalist Demjen Doroschenko who was at the scene said he discovered Mr Alder's body outside the village of Grabovo within hours of the disaster and saw that his belongings had been disturbed.

He told The Sun: "I saw John Alder's body and took a picture of a medicine box he had with him. You could see they had been through his things.

"He had a pair of Tesco binoculars with him in a case. They had pulled the binoculars out of the case. But when they say the glass had been broken they threw them back because they weren't any good for them."

debris

The Malaysian airliner was shot down over eastern Ukraine

The Ukraine government said "terrorists, with the help of Russia, are trying to destroy evidence of international crimes", adding it had obtained data which showed bodies had been taken to a morgue in Donetsk.

Anton Gerashchenko, an advisor to the Kiev government, said: "I have received information that terrorist death-hunters were collecting not only cash and jewellery of the crashed Boeing dead passengers but also the credit cards of the victims."

However, reporters at the scene say some bodies are now being carried out on stretchers after a makeshift cordon was set up this morning, following a deal between separatists and Kiev.

mh17

Until now, many of the dead passengers had been left uncovered, lying among the plane wreckage in an open field in the rebel-controlled area.

In a sensational attack against Vladimir Putin, a Ukraine official earlier published an image purporting to show a tiny corpse of an infant victim of MH17 lying in a field, accusing the Russian President of murdering the baby.

Senior government advisor Anton Gerashchenko posted the graphic picture on Facebook with a message to Putin saying: "This baby's death is on your conscience", before adding "Damn you for centuries!"

In a series of stark tweets, BBC reporter Fergal Keane, who is at the scene of the crash, said: "At crash site. Body parts strewn in field. Obscenity of war at its most graphic.

"Saddest to see was tiny shape under white sheet. Brown hair emerging. A toddler. By sunflower field."

Flight MH17 went down in the conflict-torn region of east Ukraine on Thursday, killing all 298 people on board. The toll now includes 189 Dutch, 44 Malaysians, 28 Australians, 12 Indonesians and 10 Britons. One of the victims was a US citizen, holding both Dutch and American passports.

There were three infants and up to 80 children on the flight.

Experts from the UK will arrive in Kiev today to assist an international, but Ukrainian-led, investigation into how the flight was brought down.

The six investigators from the UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch will be based in the Ukraine capital until further details of the investigation are established.

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A close-up of the debris from the Malaysia Airlines plane

The Foreign Office has also sent extra consular staff to Ukraine and the Metropolitan Police offered to send specialist officers to the country to assist with the identification and repatriation of the victims.

The latest allegations of looting came amid discussions over the creation of a "security zone" around the crash scene.

Ukraine's security service earlier said talks between the two sides "concluded with an agreement to set up a 20km (12 miles) security zone so that Ukraine could fulfil the most important thing - identify the bodies (and) hand them over to relatives".

But a senior official of the pro-Russian rebels' self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic said no deal had been reached to seal and secure the site.

Ukrainian rebels may have tampered with the crash site of the Malaysian airliner MH17, it was alleged yesterday, with black boxes removed from the crash site and sent to Moscow "for investigation."

Gunmen yesterday prevented monitors from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) from observing the crash site in the battle-torn region of Donetsk, the rights and security watchdog said.

Critically, they said they were unable to speak to anyone about the whereabouts of the jet's two black box voice and data recorders.

Separatists reportedly fired warning shots as the group of 30 officials approached, forcing them to leave after just 75 minutes.

Michael Bociurkiw, spokesman for the OSCE, told CNN: "It basically looks like the biggest crime scene in the world right now, guarded by a bunch of guys in uniform with heavy firepower who are quite inhospitable.

"And there didn't seem to be anyone really in control, for example. One of our top priorities was to find out what happened to the black boxes. No one was there to answer those questions."

There is growing international condemnation of pro-Russian separatists for the incident, with the Britain and the United States both pointing the finger of blame at the militias.

Downing Street said it appeared "increasingly likely" that the catastrophe was the result of a surface-to-air missile fired from near Torez, in territory controlled by rebels seeking closer ties to Moscow.

Prime Minister David Cameron earlier insisted that those responsible for bringing down the airliner must be "brought to account" amid deepening tensions with Moscow.

Ukraine has accused separatists using Russian supplied missiles of coordinating the attack, but the rebels have denied downing the aircraft, while the Kremlin has accused Kiev of failing to agree a ceasefire.

People from almost a dozen nations - young holidaymakers, students, scientists and some entire families - were on board the doomed flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.

Those living near the crash site between the villages of Rozsypne and Hrabove have described debris - parts of the stricken plane, luggage, personal belongings and even bodies - falling from the sky around them.

Experts believe the Boeing 777-200 airliner is most likely to have been hit by a Russian-built Buk radar-controlled surface-to-air missile (SAM) system - known in the West as the SA-11 "Gadfly" - which can reach targets up to 72,000ft, according to the IHS Jane's global information group. The type of missile is owned by both Russia and Ukraine.