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Monitors try to secure Ukraine plane-crash site

Ukraine says 38 bodies moved to rebel-held city of Donetsk.



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Police said in a tweet that 40 pairs of detectives from the National Forensic Investigations Team would be visiting victims’ relatives in the coming days.

The location of the black boxes remains a mystery. The separatist leadership insisted Saturday that it had not located them.

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Aviation experts said not to expect too much from the flight data and cockpit voice recorders in understanding how Flight 17 was brought down.

The most useful evidence that’s likely to come from the crash scene is whether missile pieces can be found in the trail of debris that came down as the plane exploded, said John Goglia, a U.S. aviation safety expert and former National Transportation Safety Board member.

The operation of Flight 17 does not appear to be an issue, he said.

At a U.N. Security Council on Friday, the U.S. pointed blame at the separatists, saying Washington believes the jetliner was probably downed by an SA-11 missile and "we cannot rule out technical assistance from Russian personnel."

According to U.S. officials, American intelligence analysts are still going over data to determine more precisely who fired the missile and where the attackers got the SA-11 surface-to-air system.

Analysts would likely be reviewing sensor and radar data and possibly satellite imagery from around the time of the strike, as well as from previous days. Although both Russian and Ukraine have the systems in their weapons inventory, U.S. officials have said they do not believe the Ukrainian government had any of the SA-11s in that region.

Instead, analysts are looking more closely at whether Russian backers gave the missile launcher to the separatists and moved it across the border into Ukraine, or if this was something captured by rebels from the Ukrainian military.

Malaysia Airlines, meanwhile, said Saturday it has no immediate plans to fly victims’ relatives to the crash site in Ukraine because of security concerns.


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A spokesman for the airline says next of kin are being cared for in Amsterdam while a team from the carrier, including security officials, was in Ukraine assessing the situation.

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Associated Press writers David McHugh in Kiev, Mstyslav Chernov in Donetsk, Michael Corder in Amsterdam, Frank Jordans in Berlin, Jim Heintz in Moscow and Lolita C. Baldor in Washington contributed to this report.



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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