MH17: Forensic Scientists Finally Able To Reach Crash Site

After days of fighting hampered its progress, a team of forensic scientists was finally able to gain access to the MH17 crash site in Eastern Ukraine.
Posted at 2:33 PM, Jul 31, 2014

Two weeks after Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was downed over Eastern Ukraine, more experts are finally being allowed at the wreckage site. (Via Getty images)

An international team of forensic scientists gained access to the crash area after the Ukrainian government declared a one-day cease-fire with pro-Russian separatists. (Via The Wall Street Journal)

Days of heavy fighting between rebels and government troops made it difficult for investigators to get to the site. But by using a new route, the Dutch and Australian teams tasked with recovering the remaining bodies should now get a hands-on look at the wreckage. (Via Getty Images)

That team, partnered with the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, will be the first major international group to access the site since Flight 17 was reportedly shot out of the sky by an anti-aircraft missile July 17. (Via Twitter / @OSCE_SMM

The BBC reports Australian team members believe the bodies of about 80 people who were on board the flight remain at the crash site. 

The New York Times reports the majority of the 298 bodies were recovered last week and taken to northeast Ukraine. It is unclear whether they will be returned to their families after they have been identified.

The Washington Post explains officials will prioritize recovering the remaining bodies. A secondary mission will focus on searching for additional evidence in the debris left from the plane. 

The U.S. claims the missile that struck MH17 was launched by a Russian-provided system in a rebel-held area of Ukraine. 

But Moscow has denied supplying anti-aircraft weaponry to the separatists and suggests the plane was downed by Kiev in an attempt to frame the rebels and gain support from the international community. (Via RT)

CNN reports Ukrainian officials have denied that while saying rebels have deliberately prevented investigators from reaching the crash site.

Rebel leaders and Russian officials charge Kiev with stepping up military operations in the region following the crash. (Via Getty Images)

​It is unclear when the Dutch and Australian teams will be able to share their findings. The Netherlands lost 193 of its citizens in the crash, and Australia lost 27.