A set of keys and a toothbrush may seem like innocuous, everyday items, but they become sacred when they belong to the dead. So when Sky News reporter Colin Brazier was caught during a live broadcast yesterday riffling through the personal effects—toothbrush and keys among them—of one of the deceased passengers at the MH17 crash site in Ukraine, people around the world responded angrily, calling the act "disrespectful" and "appalling." In a statement, Sky News says it has received a "handful" of complaints from viewers, reports the Guardian, and both Sky News and Brazier "apologize profusely for any offense caused."
Brazier, who was nominated for this year's Royal Television Society presenter of the year award, was standing amidst a pile of luggage, reports news.com.au, when he said: "I think it’s a small girl’s bag by the looks of things. A set of keys, a toothbrush." He then stopped himself from riffling through the luggage further when he said, "We really shouldn't be doing this, I suppose." He went on to say he'd encountered scores of body parts charred to the point of being unrecognizable. "It is a truly macabre, horrific situation," he said of the carnage in rebel-held eastern Ukraine, where 283 passengers and 15 crew perished. "There is a degree of anarchy and lawlessness." (An American and a scientist studying in the US were on the flight.)