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New Footage Allegedly Shows Fiery Aftermath of MH17 Crash in Ukraine

The video appears to show locals in eastern Ukraine gathering around the crash site in bewilderment as thick black smoke pours into the cloudy skies.

by Liz Fields
Nov 16 2014, 5:23pm

Photo by Vadim Ghirda/AP

On the same day a recovery operation began to remove the wreckage of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 from fields in eastern Ukraine, local media in the country released footage that purportedly shows the minutes immediately following the downing of the Boeing 777. 

The plane was allegedly shot down four months ago by pro-Russian separatists, killing all 298 people on board.

The handheld video shows local residents gathering around the fiery crash site in bewilderment as thick black smoke pours into the cloudy skies. Ukraine's government and the West have accused separatists of using a Russian-supplied surface-to-air missile to shoot down the plane as it was flying over the country's east en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur at an altitude of 30,000 feet. Moscow and the rebels have vehemently denied these charges.

Also on Sunday, Dutch authorities said that workers have began to cut up and remove parts of the twisted wreckage. Two-thirds of the passengers were Dutch, and investigators from the Netherlands initially wanted to remove the parts themselves, but because of the ongoing conflict and danger near the crash site they are now collaborating with locals to complete the job.

The Dutch Safety Board, which is investigating the crash, said in a statement Sunday that, "the recovered wreckage will be collected at a location near the crash site, from where the wreckage will be transported to Kharkov and finally to the Netherlands." 

A section of the plane will be reconstructed as part of the investigation, the statement added. The recovery operation is expected to last several days.

MH17 crash site reportedly looted by rebels. Read more here.

Alexander Kostrubitsky, the head of the emergency services in the Donetsk region, told the Associated Press that the debris collection could take up to 10 days, and that the largest fragments will be cut into smaller pieces for easier transportation.

Months after the crash, investigators and emergency crew are still uncovering the remains of victims. Kostrubitsky said more bone fragments were found as a large section of plane was lifted away Sunday.

Earlier this month, newly discovered body parts from the site were flown by military aircraft to the Netherlands for identification. All but nine victims have been positively identified so far.

Remains of MH17 victims returned to the Netherlands after new discovery. Read more here.

The Dutch Safety Board released a preliminary report on their findings in September. It said the crash resulted from "structural damage caused by a large number of high-energy objects that penetrated the aircraft from outside," rather than any technical or crew fault.

At the G20 summit in Australia, which closed Sunday, Russian President Vladimir Putin was snubbed by numerous world leaders, including from the US, Britain and Canada, over the crisis in Ukraine.

Follow Liz Fields on Twitter:@lianzifields