MH17 black boxes to be sent to UK lab: Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR (TIP): The black boxes recovered from the crash of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in eastern Ukraine will be sent to British aviation investigators for analysis, Malaysia has said. The decision by the Dutch-led team probing the disaster came after pro-Russian rebels controlling the crash site handed the boxes over to Malaysian officials on July 23, following an intense international outcry.

Transport minister Liow Tiong Lai said in a statement late Tuesday that it was normal procedure to send the boxes, which record cockpit activity and flight data, to the nearest laboratory approved by the United Nations aviation agency, the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). “The international investigation team, led by the Netherlands, has decided to pass the black boxes to the UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch for forensic analysis,” he said.

The boxes will be flown to Farnborough, England, accompanied by Malaysian officials and other members of the investigation team, Liow added. 298 people, including 193 from the Netherlands, aboard MH17 were killed when it went down over crisis-hit eastern Ukraine on Thursday. The jet is believed to have been shot by a surface-to-air missile. had announced late Monday a breakthrough deal with separatists from the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, following direct negotiations.

Besides the handover of the black boxes, the agreement also says that bodies from the crash will be sent to the Netherlands for analysis before being returned home, and provides for a safe route to the site controlled by the insurgents. The pro-Russia rebels currently stand accused by the US and some other nations of bringing down the aircraft, allegedly with a missile supplied by Moscow.

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