Society

Looting Allegations Emerge At Flight MH17 Crash Site

| by Kathryn Schroeder

Reports of looting allegedly taking place have been reported at the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in Donetsk, Ukraine.

USA Today reports that backpacks and carry-on luggage were grouped together in a field, clearly showing that looters had opened and rummaged through them.

The Ukranian government has received information claiming looting is taking place, reports CNN.  Items that have allegedly been taken include jewelry, money, and credit cards.  Relatives of the plane crash victims have been urged to cancel the credit cards.

The Ukrainian government is also accusing rebels of "seeking to export large-sized transport aircraft wreckage to Russia."

But a CNN crew at the crash site says it has not seen any signs of looting or pro-Russian rebels rummaging through items.

Witnesses claim pieces had been tampered with and USA Today reports that looting could interfere with the investigation into the plane crash.

Whether or not the looting is taking place remains unclear.  But what is certain is that personal possessions and bodies of the victims remain on the ground.

Michael Bociurkiw, spokesman for the Organization for Security and Cooperation, said professional body bags are now in use and body parts are being collected. The body bags are being collected by the side of the road.

Multiple possessions, including lunch boxes, stuffed animals, books, and purses continue to litter the crash area.  Some passengers have been identified through discovered passports, others were too badly burned for identification to be possible.

The difficulty of collecting the bodies and personal items is due to the location of the crash.  The field, near the town of Torez, is a rebel-controlled area of the eastern Donetsk region.  It is considered to be highly volatile.

Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 crashed in eastern Ukraine on Thursday, July 17, 2014. United States satellites confirmed it was struck by a surface-to-air missile, reports the New York Daily News

Ukraine and Russia have held the other accountable for the crash but there has been no confirmation as to who the responsible party actually was.

Ukranian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk told CNN that the missile had to be operated by an expert.

"This is not the Russian-led drunk terrorist who pressed the button," Yatsenyuk said. "This is someone well trained. Someone who knows how this machine works. Someone who has experience."

Yatsenyuk added that Ukraine and the international community “will find out all responsible for this international crime, and those who supported them, because this is (a) crime against humanity, and the building of (the) international criminal court is very big.”

The black boxes for MH17 remain in the territory of the Ukraine but it is unclear whether they are in the government’s control.

Russian President Vladimir Putin blames Ukraine’s military campaign against the separatists and has called for a “thorough and objective investigation” into the crash.

Photo Credit: Maxim Zmeyev/Reuters