As if their sudden death wasn't bad enough, the bodies of passengers aboard doomed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 were stolen by pro-Russian rebels to be brought to an undisclosed location. And if that wasn't ruthless enough, rebels have also been reportedly stealing possessions from the dead. It was more than a double whammy the bereaved families of the victims can take from the senseless killing.
Ukraine emergency workers were reportedly stopped in their tracks of recovering the scattered bodies from the Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash site in the village of Torez in eastern Ukraine by pro-Russian rebels. The rebels forced the workers to hand over the so far 196 bodies to them.
The bodies of the Malaysia Airlines MH17 victims were said to have been loaded onto a refrigerated freight train, believed bound to an unknown destination later.
It was already too much for the bereaved families to witness on global media.
"I am sickened at reports of what has been happening over there and I just want Liam home," The Mirror quoted Barry Sweeney, father of 28-year old Liam who perished from the disaster. "I can't begin to say how much I'll miss my son."
Malaysia Airlines has released the complete passenger and crew list (here) of downed flight MH17 who victims include:
- 193 from the Netherlands (1 dual Netherlands/U.S. citizen)
- 43 from Malaysia
- 27 from Australia
- 12 from Indonesia
- 10 from the United Kingdom
- Four from Germany
- Four from Belgium
- Three from the Philippines
- One from Canada
- One from New Zealand
Silene Fredricksz, mother of 23-year old Dutch victim Bryce, pleaded with authorities to return her son's body, along with his girlfriend, 20-year-old Daisy Oehlers, so they can be given a proper burial.
"I want to arrange their funeral and I can't. I don't know where they are. I want them back. I want my children back ...They have to come back. Mr Putin, send them home. Please."
Alexander Pilyushny, a Ukraine emergency worker, said they had no choice but to hand over the 196 bodies they recovered from the crash site to the rebels.
"They are armed and we are not," The Express quoted Pilyushny.
The bodies of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 victims were loaded into five sealed, refrigerated train cars on Sunday. The Ukrainian state railway provided the chilled cars.
Philip Hammond, British Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, called on looters to respect the possessions of the victims.
The Mirror, in its report ,said freelance journalist Demjen Doroschenko personally saw how looters rummaged through the belongings of one victim.
"I took a picture of a medicine box one of the victims had. You could see they had been through his things. The guy had a pair of Tesco binoculars with him in a case. They had pulled the binoculars out. But when they saw the glass had been broken they threw them back."
"Once they'd gone I went over to the body where they had been and found wallets left open, purses empty and papers all over the ground."
Hammond reiterated that it is a very fundamental principle of human decency that the victims and their possessions should be treated with dignity. "I have seen reporting in the media which suggests that these norms are not being respected."
"We have no evidence that this is the case - but if it turns out to be so, those responsible can be sure they will be held to account for their crimes."
Fredricksz was aghast over the seeming brazenness of the looters. "They plunder the place. Where do they get the nerve?"