Malaysia on Wednesday said the black boxes from Flight MH17, which was shot down over Ukraine last week, will be sent to British aviation investigators for forensic analysis.
The international investigation team led by the Netherlands has decided to pass the black boxes, which record cockpit activity and flight data, to the UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch.
Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai said it was a normal procedure for black boxes to be sent for analysis to the nearest laboratory authorised by the International Civil Aviation Organisation.
“The black boxes will therefore be flown to Farnborough, United Kingdom, accompanied by Malaysian experts and other members of the international investigation team,” he said in a statement here.
Liow said this decision was taken after pro-Russian rebels controlling the crash site handed the boxes over to Malaysian officials following an agreement between Prime Minister Najib Razak and separatist commander Alexander Borodai.
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“Following the agreement, Prime Minister Najib Razak brokered with rebel leaders (in eastern Ukraine), Malaysia has taken custody of flight MH17’s black boxes. As the Prime Minister said, they will be passed to the international investigation team for analysis,” he said.
Flight MH17, with 283 passengers and 15 crew members on board, was en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur when it crashed in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine last Thursday.
Malaysia also called for a comprehensive investigation by international independent bodies into the crash.
In a strongly worded motion at a specially convened session of Parliament Najib called on all parties to work together to ensure investigations are completed immediately.
“The House also demands that a comprehensive investigation be carried out so that those believed to be responsible for this crime against humanity through the shooting down of MH17 are immediately brought to justice,” Najib said.
He said the House also strongly condemned the “inhumane, uncivilised, violent and irresponsible” action of the parties believed to have shot down the Boeing 777.
Najib said the government has directed the Attorney-General to study the crash in detail to ensure all action required to be taken against the parties responsible for the tragedy is in line with international law. The premier expressed his anger and disappointment that the crash site was not immediately secured according to international practices, leading to loss of and tainted evidence.
“The delay in handling the tragedy has also led to the failure of due respect in protecting the dignity of the remains of the deceased,” he said.
Najib said there were still unanswered questions such as whether the plane was brought down by a guided missile, on whose orders the action was carried out, who the weapon suppliers were and what were their true motives.
He also questioned whether there were plans to shoot down the plane intentionally or if it was an unintentional accident. He also assured families that efforts were underway to ensure the remains of victims are returned home.