MOSCOW, July 23 (RIA Novosti) – The Dutch Safety Board (DSB) has formally taken over the investigation into last week’s Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crash in eastern Ukraine, according to the official statement released Wednesday.
“The Dutch Safety Board took over formal responsibility for the air crash investigation from Ukraine yesterday evening,” the statement reads.
The DSB said that an international team of 24 experts, including Russian and Ukrainian analysts, will investigate the crash that left all 298 people on board dead.
“The Dutch Safety Board is also responsible for coordinating all participating investigators and investigation teams from the countries involved (Ukraine, Malaysia, Australia, Germany, the United States, the United Kingdom and Russia) and the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO),” the statement said.
According to the board, the team will look into reports that the aircraft’s black boxes may have been manipulated but the analysis may take several weeks.
A total of four Dutch investigators are currently operating in Ukraine, the Dutch authorities added.
Earlier in the day, MH17 black boxes were delivered to the United Kingdom, where they will be studied by Air Accidents Investigation Branch experts in Farnborough. It’s one of the two labs in Europe that can extract data from flight recorders. According to UK officials, the deciphering process may take about two days.
The Malaysian plane with 298 people on board, including 85 children, was downed on July 17 near the town of Torez in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk Region. There were no survivors.
Many of the victims were Dutch and the Netherlands will carry out their identification. The first planes with the remains of victims arrived in the Netherlands earlier on Wednesday, which was declared a day of national mourning by the Dutch government.
The Ukrainian government and militia have been trading blame for the downing of the airliner, with independence supporters saying they lacked the technology to shoot down a target flying at an altitude of 33,000 feet.
On Monday, the Russian military presented information that a Ukrainian SU-25 fighter had been gaining altitude in the direction of the Malaysian plane prior to the catastrophe.