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Remains from downed MH17 return home

By Agencies in Kuala Lumpur | China Daily | Updated: 2014-08-23 07:59

Carried by soldiers and draped in the national flag, coffins containing the Malaysian victims of Flight MH17 returned home on Friday to a country that is still searching the ocean for another doomed jet and whose government is battling the political fallout of the twin tragedies.

The bodies and ashes of 20 victims from the Malaysia Airlines jet that was shot down over eastern Ukraine in July were given full military honors, and a day of national mourning was declared, the first in the country's history.

Many people in offices in the nation of 30 million observed a minute's silence as the hearses were driven from the tarmac of Kuala Lumpur International Airport to private funerals. Some public trains in the capital, Kuala Lumpur, stopped operating.

All 298 people on board died when the jet was shot down over an area of Ukraine controlled by separatists as it flew from Amsterdam toward Kuala Lumpur. The victims included 43 Malaysians and 195 Dutch nationals. An international investigation is ongoing, but no one has been arrested.

Residents of Kuala Lumpur overwhelmingly donned black, with many Muslim women wearing flowing black robes and Islamic headscarves, as state television aired recitations from the Koran and photos of the dead.

"Today we mourn the loss of our people. Today, we begin to bring them home," Prime Minister Najib Razak said. "Our thoughts and our prayers are with the families and friends of those who lost their lives. Today we stand with you, united as one."

The repatriation was the first of the Malaysian passengers and crew on the flight. The government has said the bodies of the remaining Malaysians would follow soon.


(China Daily 08/23/2014 page12)

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