NEWSLINK: Rival Claims Over Crashed Malaysia Plane’s Recorders

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[“Rival Claims Over Crashed Malaysia Plane’s Recorders” – New York Times – Sabrina Tavernise, Keith Bradsher – July 18, 2014]

The New York Times reports on investigations in the aftermath of the shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in eastern Ukraine, including questions about who will gain custody of the doomed jet’s data recorders.

The grisly scene of the crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was still unsecured on Friday, with questions swirling over the custody and condition of the critical onboard devices that could answer questions about the fate of the jetliner and many openly asking why the airline had chosen to fly a civilian aircraft over a combat zone.

Kostyantyn Batozsky, adviser to the Donetsk regional governor, said in a telephone news conference that the aircraft voice and data recording devices had been recovered by workers from the Ukrainian Emergency Services Ministry who had been granted access to the crash site by rebels who control the region surrounding it. But he said he did not know the current location of the devices or who had possession of them.

Aleksandr Borodai, pro-Russian rebel leader of the self-proclaimed People’s Republic of Donetsk, reportedly claimed that his militant group had the plane’s black boxes and would provide them the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. He also claimed that the Netherlands and Malaysia asked his group to leave debris and bodies undisturbed.

Russia and Ukraine both denied involvement with the shoot-down.  But “pro-Russian separatist forces in eastern Ukraine bragged on social media in late June that they had taken possession of a BUK system after capturing a Ukrainian military base,” which would have placed in the hands of rebels a powerful surface-to-air missile capable of striking the airliner at cruising altitude.

The crash occurred near the eastern Ukrainian town of Grabovo.  One villager reporter seeing a flash of light from a rocket around the time the plane crashed, indicating that the rocket came “from the direction of Snizhne, a city where the Ukrainians have been bombing rebel positions frequently for more than a week. ‘It was a rocket, I’m sure of it,’ he said.”

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