Data downloaded from MH17 'black boxes', no evidence of tampering found

Friday 25 July 2014 06.53
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298 passengers were killed when the aircraft was shot down last week in eastern Ukraine
298 passengers were killed when the aircraft was shot down last week in eastern Ukraine
Two military transport planes carried 40 coffins to Eindhoven yesterday
Two military transport planes carried 40 coffins to Eindhoven yesterday
A day of national mourning was declared in the Netherlands yesterday as the first bodies arrived from Ukraine
A day of national mourning was declared in the Netherlands yesterday as the first bodies arrived from Ukraine

Dutch investigators have downloaded data from the black box flight recorder of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 and said it had not been tampered with.

"No evidence or indications of manipulation of the recorder was found," the Dutch Safety Board (OVV) said in a statement.

"The data was successfully downloaded and the flight data recorder contained valid data of the flight," it said.

The OVV said yesterday that it had successfully downloaded recordings from the black box cockpit voice recorder.

The recorders, salvaged from the plane wreckage in eastern Ukraine, are being analysed at the Air Accidents Investigation Branch headquarters in Farnborough, southwest of London.

AAIB experts are tasked with extracting information from the cockpit voice recorder, which should give them hours of pilots' conversations, as well as the contents of the flight data recorder.

The boxes - which are actually orange in colour - were delivered to Farnborough by the OVV, which is leading an international investigation into the crash in which 298 people died, 193 of them Dutch.

The OVV is coordinating investigation teams from eight different countries, including Russia.

Pro-Russian rebels controlling the crash site handed the boxes over to Malaysian officials on Tuesday, following an international outcry over the treatment of the wreckage and the bodies of the victims.

Planes carrying more bodies recovered from the MH17 crash site in Ukraine were flown to the Netherlands today, a day after the first of the 298 dead arrived.

Two planes carrying a total of 74 coffins landed at Eindhoven in the south of the country, from where they are to be taken to a military barracks in Hilversum, near Amsterdam, for forensic examination and identification.

The coffins were given the same military honours as the 40 coffins that arrived yesterday and placed in individual hearses for the journey to Hilversum.

Dutch police said that 80 forensic experts from Germany, Belgium, Britain, Australia, Indonesia, New Zealand, and Malaysia were helping 120 Dutch with the task of identification, which could take months.

Western governments say the evidence points to the Boeing 777 plane having been shot down with a missile by pro-Russian separatists.

Australia ready to send police to aide MH17 inquiry

Australia is ready to send police to Ukraine as part of an international team to secure the Malaysia Airlines flight crash site, Prime Minister Tony Abbott has said.

He has dispatched 50 officers to London on standby.

Mr Abbott said he had spoken with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and Russian President Vladimir Putin about ensuring safe access for the officers, who would be tasked with securing the crash site for investigators.

On Tuesday, Mr Abbott said that Russian-backed rebels who control the area were tampering with evidence on "an industrial scale".

He also argued that outside police or possibly a military force was needed to ensure that did not continue.

"We want to deploy them as quickly as possible because right now there could well be remains exposed to the European summer, exposed to the ravages of heat and animals," Mr Abbott told reporters in Canberra.

"So the quicker we can deploy a team, the quicker we can conduct a thorough search, the better," he said.

The Boeing 777 was shot down last week in eastern Ukraine en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, killing all 298 passengers and crew on board. 28 Australians were killed.

Elsewhere, EU envoys are due to meet later to discuss which associates of Mr Putin could face sanctions if Moscow fails to comply with European demands over Ukraine.

Russia's ambassador to the UK has said western sanctions on Russia are illegal, counter-productive and could hurt the global economy.

Meanwhile, Russia's World Trade Organisation envoy has said US-backed sanctions on Russia could cause a chain of events that ultimately undermine the entire WTO system.