Workers in rebel-controlled eastern Ukraine began to collect debris from the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 today, four months after the plane was brought down. The operation is being carried out under the supervision of Dutch investigators and officials from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. The recovered fragments are to be loaded onto trains and taken to the government-controlled eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv. The investigation into the cause of the crash is being conducted there and in the Netherlands. Efforts to conduct investigations and recovery operations have been delayed amid continued fighting between government troops and separatist fighters.
Alexander Kostrubitsky, the head of the emergency services in the rebel-held areas of Donetsk region, said at the site that gathering debris could take around 10 days. The debris is being sawed into smaller pieces to facilitate its transportation, Kostrubitsky said. Charred remains of the aircraft are scattered around fields over an area of 8 square miles. The first batch of plane debris was delivered from an area near the village of Hrabove to a lumber warehouse in the town of Torez shortly after lunchtime today. They were due to be put onto cargo trains later in the day. At the wreckage site, Kostrubitsky said more bone fragments were discovered today after part of the plane was lifted away. (Read more Ukraine stories.)