MH17: 50 Per Cent Of Evidence Collection Done

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Zahid Hamidi/Pic:NSTZahid Hamidi/Pic:NSTSEPANG: More than 50 per cent of the evidence-collecting process for the probe into the ill-fated MH17 flight which crashed near rebel-controlled Donetsk, Ukraine last month has been completed.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the swift canvassing of the crash site which covered a 20 kilometre radius had been made possible through the cooperation of more than 500 personnel from the international investigation team.

He said the Royal Malaysia Police Force had sent some 87 members from its investigations and forensics teams who were working together with their Australian and Dutch counterparts.

Zahid said the team was operating under a tight schedule as they were only allowed to access the crash site for one-and-a-half hour a day.

The situation was compounded by the on-going conflict between the Ukranian government forces and pro-Russian separatist militiamen as the team of investigators had to pass at least four security road blocks to access the crash site.

Zahid said this during a press conference after arriving here at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) from his special week-long mission to Kiev, Ukraine.

He said at least 10 divers from Australia and Netherlands had been deployed to a nearby lake in Grabovo as the team believed there was a possibility that remaining passengers and bits wreckage could be found there.

He said Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar had flown to Amsterdam, Netherlands to meet seven senior investigation officers, included leading forensics experts to streamline the international probing teams' efforts.

Zahid added Malaysia had signed several agreements with the Ukrainian government to be officially part of the international investigation team.

“We have received excellent cooperation from the Ukranian government,” he said.