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Malaysia to repatriate at least 21 MH17 victims

Malaysia said the remains of at least 21 victims from the MH17 plane crash will be arriving in Kuala Lumpur on Aug 22. 

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia said the remains of at least 21 victims from the MH17 plane crash will be arriving in Kuala Lumpur on Aug 22. It had earlier said it will repatriate 16 victims from the Netherlands.

Malaysia's Minister in Prime Minister’s Department Wee Ka Siong said in a statement on Sunday (Aug 17) that the remains, in 18 caskets and three urns, will be flown home from Schipol International Airport at noon on Aug 21 (6pm Singapore time).

“We are in the process of bringing more bodies of Malaysian victims for the flight home,” he said. “We are working hard to obtain the green light for one more body to be included in the first flight.”

But he added: “We understand the procedures and regulations here in the Netherlands are rigorous and we need to respect that.”

Dr Wee also said two more Malaysian victims were identified on Sunday.

The next-of-kin of the victims will depart on an earlier flight from the Netherlands so that they can receive their loved ones’ remains in Kuala Lumpur.

Malaysia had said on Thursday that the remains of 16 victims will arrive in Kuala Lumpur on Aug 22, declaring it a day of national mourning.

The Malaysia Airlines plane was shot down over rebel-held eastern Ukraine on Jul 17 en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, killing all 298 on board. More than 220 coffins filled with remains have been taken to the Netherlands for identification, but the search for body parts is still not complete due to fighting around the crash site.

Of those aboard, 193 were Dutch and 43 were Malaysians, including 15 crew members. 

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