MH17 flew corpses as passengers, pro-Russia rebels claim

Passengers’ belongings are pictured at the crash site of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 before a visit by Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) monitors, near the settlement of Grabovo in the Donetsk region, July 19, 2014. — Reuter
Passengers’ belongings are pictured at the crash site of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 before a visit by Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) monitors, near the settlement of Grabovo in the Donetsk region, July 19, 2014. — Reuter

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KUALA LUMPUR, July 19 — Kremlin-backed insurgents alleged the passengers on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 were already dead when the plane went down, a Ukrainian daily reported.

According to the Kyiv Post, pro-Russia separatist leader Igor Girkin had said in a posting yesterday on Vkontakte — Europe’s second largest social network after Facebook — that the bodies that fell from the plane were “bloodless” long before the aircraft was shot down.

“I just talked to two people who were gathering corpses, both from Shakhtarsk so they came to the spot only 30 minutes after the tragedy. I am writing from their words.

“They said many corpses were totally bloodless and looked like blood had clotted long before the catastrophe,” Girkin was quoted by the Ukrainian English-language newspaper as writing on his blog post.

The daily reported Girkin also saying a strong putrid smell was noticed in the area of the plane crash, citing the same two locals from the city where the Boeing passenger plane was downed by a Russian-made surface-to-air missile.

“This smell could not have appeared in a half an hour in any weather, and it was cloudy, not very hot yesterday,” the rebel leader was quoted saying.

But Girkin was also quoted in the same posting as admitting that the jetliner’s pilots has been alive and died as a result of the crash.

Kyiv Post quoted Girkin as previously claiming credit for shooting down Kuala Lumpur-bound Flight MH17, which the insurgents initially thought was another Ukrainian transport plane.

The Vkontakte posting has since been deleted, with Girkin saying that the information he received was unverified.

Unverified reports have since surfaced on intercepted conversations that allegedly show the MAS plane had been shot down by Ukrainian rebels.

According to a report on the UK’s The Telegraph, Ukrainian security services claimed they have intercepted the conversations, believed to be between a Russian military intelligence officer and a separatist commander who were discussing the crash.

MH17 was believed to have been shot down over eastern Ukraine by pro-Russian militants yesterday, killing all 298 people aboard, a Ukrainian interior ministry official said.

MAS said air traffic controllers lost contact with MH17 as it flew over eastern Ukraine towards the Russian border, bound for Asia with 280 passengers and 15 crew aboard.

In the early hours of the plane crash, the Ukraine government and pro-Russian insurgents blamed one another for the tragedy.

According to reports, the plane downed near the rebel-held town of Shaktarsk in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine.

The aircraft was heading to Kuala Lumpur from Amsterdam and was due to arrive here at around 6am.

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