27/07/2014 12:55 BST | Updated 27/07/2014 12:59 BST

Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17: Dutch Experts Abandon Crash Site Visit Over Safety Fears

Hopes for an independent investigation of the MH17 crash site soon have been dashed, after Dutch experts due to go cancelled their visit, saying the fighting there made it too dangerous.

Since the loss of the plane and all 298 people aboard, fighting has intensified between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian separatists accused of shooting it down over the east of the country.

The rebels themselves have been overseeing the site but have been accused of failing to secure it and claims of bodies being disrespected and items being removed and stolen have trickled out.

"There is fighting going on. We can't take the risk," Alexander Hug, of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), told the BBC.

"The security situation on the way to the site and on the site itself is unacceptable for our unarmed observer mission."

Flowers left at the MH17 crash site by parents of an Australian victim of the crash

A total of 13 people have been reported killed in the most recent fighting and shelling has been reported today near the crash site.

The investigators, who are currently nearby in the city of Donetsk, had their passage to the crash site brokered by the Malaysian government.

Meanwhile, a boss of troubled Malaysia Airlines, which has lost two planes this year after MH17 and the disappearance of MH370 in March, has called for the creation of a new body to decide which flight paths are safe.

Hugh Dunleavy, the company's commercial director, said that individual airlines could not be expected to make decisions on which volatile regions are secure to fly over.

Despite flying over a conflict zone, MH17's flight path had been approved by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), the Ukrainian authorities and the European airspace service provider Eurocontrol, Mr Dunleavy said.

Writing in the Sunday Telegraph, he called for airlines and existing aviation bodies to "review existing processes and set more stringent standards".


"Ultimately, we need one body to be the arbiter of where we can fly," he said.

"This tragedy has taught us that despite following the guidelines and advice set out by the governing bodies, the skies above certain territories are simply not safe.

"MH17 has shown us that airlines can no longer rely on existing industry bodies for this information.

"No longer should airlines bear the responsibility of deeming flight paths safe or unsafe. We are businesses, not agencies.

"And it is not reasonable for us to assess all of the issues going on in all of the regions in the world, and determine a safe flight path.

"For the sake of passenger and crew safety we need to insist on a higher level of authority."

Mr Dunleavy said that despite the MH17 crash and the unsolved mystery of flight MH370's disappearance, the carrier is working on "creating an airline fit for purpose in a new era".

"As a company, Malaysia Airlines has twice been in a period of mourning this year but we will eventually overcome this tragedy and emerge stronger," he said.

"Our majority shareholder, the Malaysian Government, has already started a process of assessing the future shape of our business and that process will now be speeded up as a result of MH17."