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At Last, The MH17 Victims Get Their Dignity As First Bodies Arrive In Holland (Photo)



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Jul 24 2014
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Almost a week after Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 was shot down from Ukraine skies at 33,000-feet, the first 40 bodies arrived in the Netherlands. The country bore the heaviest casualties at 193 of the 298 killed. The first Royal Dutch Air Force C130 plane landed in the city of Eindhoven Air Base, Netherlands, Wednesday, as the country marked a national day of mourning.

Malaysian Flight MH17 Shot Down - Victims Arrive in Holland - Royal Dutch Air Force C130 plane

As the first coffin was lowered on the runway, there was an absolute silence at the Eindhoven military airport. Dutch King Willem-Alexander, Queen Maxima, Dutch prime minister, Mark Rutte, and other government officials joined about 1,000 relatives and friends of the victims, who gathered at the airport for a ceremony receiving the two military transport planes.

Malaysian Flight MH17 Shot Down - Victims Arrive in Holland - King Willem-Alexander and Queen MaximaMalaysian Flight MH17 Shot Down - Victims Arrive in Holland - King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima 2

Obviously, the sight was so unbearable that Queen Maxima of the Netherlands broke down in tears. It was a stark contrast to the treatment of the victims’ remains in eastern Ukraine, where pro-Russian rebels left corpses to decay in the summer heat in body bags dumped around the crash site, as if they were no difference from normal rubbish.

Malaysian Flight MH17 Shot Down - Victims Arrive in Holland - Prepare to take coffins from Royal Dutch Air Force C130

Malaysian Flight MH17 Shot Down - Victims Arrive in Holland - First coffin from Royal Dutch Air Force C130

[ Preparing to move the first coffin from the plane to hearse ]

Malaysian Flight MH17 Shot Down - Victims Arrive in Holland - Dutch military personnel carry coffin

[ Dutch military personnel carrying the first coffin into a waiting hearse ]

Malaysian Flight MH17 Shot Down - Victims Arrive in Holland - Dutch military personnel carry coffin 2

[ It was clearly a solemn sight to everybody including these Dutch military personnel ]

Malaysian Flight MH17 Shot Down - Victims Arrive in Holland - Dutch military personnel carry coffin 3

[ Dutch lost 193 of the 298 innocent lives on board Malaysian Airlines Flight Mh17 ]

Malaysian Flight MH17 Shot Down - Victims Arrive in Holland - Dutch military personnel putting coffin into hearse

[ The wooden coffin is ready for its journey to Kaporaal van Oudheusden military barracks ]

Finally, the bodies in wooden coffins were given the dignity they deserve when Dutch military personnel solemnly and gently carried them to a row of identical hearses. This is perhaps the only moment where there were so many hearses it made you realize the scale of losses. They were then driven from the airport under military police escort to an army barracks 65 miles away.

Malaysian Flight MH17 Shot Down - Victims Arrive in Holland - Hearse leaving Eindhoven military airport to Kaporaal van Oudheusden military barracks

[ At last, the victims were treated with much respect ]

Malaysian Flight MH17 Shot Down - Victims Arrive in Holland - Hearse leaving Eindhoven military airport to Kaporaal van Oudheusden military barracks 2

[ Hearses passed by a Malaysia flag ]

Malaysian Flight MH17 Shot Down - Victims Arrive in Holland - King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima standing for respect

[ King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima stand with other officials paying their respect ]

Once they reach Kaporaal van Oudheusden military barracks, a team of 150 experts will begin the painstaking task of identifying the remains. They include police officers, military personnel, forensic dentists and other medics, who have been tasked with collecting samples from close relatives around the country to help identify the 193 Dutch victims.

Malaysian Flight MH17 Shot Down - Victims Arrive in Holland - hearses under military police escort

[ Hearses being escorted by military police ]

Malaysian Flight MH17 Shot Down - Victims Arrive in Holland - hearses under military police escort - people looking 1

[ Hundreds of people look at the huge number of hearses, escorted by military police ]

Malaysian Flight MH17 Shot Down - Victims Arrive in Holland - hearses under military police escort - people looking 2

[ Dutch government had declared a day of national mourning, the first since the death of Queen Wilhelmina in 1962 ]

Malaysian Flight MH17 Shot Down - Victims Arrive in Holland - rows of hearses under military police escort

The information collected would then be handed to the Netherlands Forensic Institute (NFI) which will use sophisticated software called Bonaparte to match those samples to the victims. The NFI took about 30-days to complete their task during an investigation into a 2010 plane crash in Libya, which killed 104 people. So, with close to 300 bodies to examine this time, it could roughly take 3-months, if lucky.

Malaysian Flight MH17 Shot Down - Victims Arrive in Holland - hearses under military police escort - people looking 3Malaysian Flight MH17 Shot Down - Victims Arrive in Holland - rows of hearses under military police escort 2

Malaysian Flight MH17 Shot Down - Victims Arrive in Holland - rows of hearses under military police escort - a man carries Dutch flag

[ A man carries a Holland flag, giving his respect to the victims ]

Malaysian Flight MH17 Shot Down - Victims Arrive in Holland - rows of hearses under military police escort - map view

[ A view from above shows the massive number of hearses used in the operation ]

Malaysian Flight MH17 Shot Down - Victims Arrive in Holland - rows of hearses under military police escort 3

This is the first time the Dutch government had declared a day of national mourning, since the death of Queen Wilhelmina in 1962. At about 4.07 pm, a minute of silence was observed across the country. Some have described this as the “Holland’s 9/11”, as the losses of 193 lives were considered massive since the country has only 16 million people. Nevertheless, the aftermath of the incident is a long process, and this is only the beginning.

Malaysian Flight MH17 Shot Down - Victims Arrive in Holland - military police escort arriving at army barrack

[ The hearses escorted by military police arrive at Kaporaal van Oudheusden military barracks ]

 Malaysian Flight MH17 Shot Down - Victims Arrive in Holland - military police escort arriving at army barrack 2

Malaysian Flight MH17 Shot Down - Victims Arrive in Holland - military police escort arriving at army barrack 3

Malaysian Flight MH17 Shot Down - Victims Arrive in Holland - Amsterdam airport mourning notice

[ A mourning notice by Amsterdam airport ]

Malaysian Flight MH17 Shot Down - Victims Arrive in Holland - Amsterdam airport moment of silence by passengers

[ Airport passengers observe a moment of silence ]

Malaysian Flight MH17 Shot Down - Victims Arrive in Holland - Amsterdam airport moment of silence by staffs

[ Amsterdam Airport staffs observe a moment of silence. Some people say this incident is so deadly it’s actually Holland 9/11 ]

 

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