Julian Bray writes: Wednesday Afternoon. MH17. So where are we now? The on ground investigation inside what now has to be regarded as a war zone, has virtually slowed to a halt, as the focus is now on the two transport aircraft taking human body parts to Eindhoven airport.
The first to land at Einhoven at approx 14:45 hrs is the C130 transport is Dutch (Royal Netherlands Airforce) the second from the Australian Air Force a C17, according to reports 40 coffins are on the first aircraft and 24 on the second.
On arrival in the Netherlands, the dead will be accorded full honours, Church bells are being rung for a period of five minutes through out the country, the Dutch Royal family together with the Prime Minister and around 1000 relatives will attend. This part of the reception process involving relatives and diplomats from all affected countries, will be carried out behind screens and in private.
Today in the Netherlands is a national day of mourning. Some 40 hearses will leave the airport at around 16:15hrs and take the bodies to Hilversum, a town about an hour away, made famous by its radio transmitter that featured on early radio dials. At Hilversum, the grim process of identification, will take place.
The UK is supporting the Dutch identification commission with 9 disaster victim identification personnel; they will assist by using dental records, possible DNA, photographs, bloodtype and other external data from relatives. This will take some time as sadly not all the remains are complete, and despite earlier reports, not kept constantly chilled to preserve the tissue.
Evidenced by the train freight truck doors being opened and effectively ruining any low temperatures, that might have been briefly achieved. What does impress the observer is the way the Dutch have risen to this challenge, and finally the dead recovered so far are being given a nations full respect in this stage of their final journey.
The 'last post' will be sounded by a lone bugle, as the coffins are prepared to be unloaded from the two transports into the first of the waiting 40 identical motor hearses and in convoy flanked by motorcycle outriders. This is followed by a minutes silence, the Royal party now on the airside apron, the bugle will sound again. Relatives are watching from behind a series of discreet screens.
Elsewhere in the country all radio stations have dropped commercials and playing 'sombre music'.
In Amsterdam, the population will gather at around 7pm, wearing white and release a shoal of white balloons, it is unlikely that any of these will reach the Ukraine. Which is a pity.
Meanwhile the two back box recorders torn from either end of the the downed #MH17 are now being examined in Farnborough. Ironically now that much of the 'external circumstances' are known, it will be a slightly easier task for the scientists as they can direct their energies to core aspects of the data to be unravelled.
The Boeing 777-200 had safely completed some 75 thousand hours and completed 11,434 round trips or cycles. It entered service in July 1997 and was powered by Rolls Royce Trent 800 turbojet engines. Despite this and the earlier Malaysian Airlines incidents, the Boeing 777-200 series has a good safety record, and is well regarded by airlines and passengers all over the world.
At last some dignity has been restored to this series of tragic events..
Meanwhile in Taiwan:
A Transasia Airways plane has crashed ( Wednesday PM ) whilst making an emergency landing in Taiwan, killing 51 people, according to reports from Taiwan’s Central News Agency and the Associated Press.
The agency said that 54 passengers and four flight crew were on board.
Reports claim the accident occurred in the city of Magong, which is off the western coast of Taiwan. The flight was heading from the capital Taipei, heading for Penghu Island.
JULIAN BRAY, Media, Aviation, & Travel/Cruise Industry Expert. Broadcaster & Journalist, EQUITY, NUJ Life Mbr. UK Tel: 01733 345581 ( ISDN 01733 345020 and isdn remote location kit available)