Durban - The uMhlanga relatives of Cameron Dalziel, who died in the Malaysia Airlines plane crash last week along with 297 other passengers and crew, have been invited to the forensic investigations area in Ukraine.
His brother, Campbell Dalziel, said last night that the family had been in touch with the Ukraine crisis centre set up after the Flight MH17 tragedy.
“We spoke to them at the weekend via Skype and they told us that the bodies would be moved by train to a forensic testing area in Kharkiv, especially set up for the crash victims.”
Cameron held dual South African and British citizenship and had flown using his British passport. The family had been working with authorities from both countries, Dalziel said.
“South African authorities have collected swabs from our parents to compare with the body.”
He said that his family was still considering whether to travel overseas.
“Obviously we will keep discussing it and re-visiting the issue… It also depends on how long investigations and repatriation take.”
Centre staff had told them 300 beds would be available for family members, as well as hotels around the city for those making the trip.
“I was surprised at their warmth and helpfulness, and their promise to keep me posted.”
Cameron, 43, was originally from uMhlanga Rocks and previously worked as a Netcare 911 emergency services helicopter pilot but had worked around the world before settling in Malaysia in December.
His wife, Reine, and two sons, 14-year-old Sheldon and 4-year-old Cruz, will be making the journey to South Africa soon.
“Everyone has just been amazing in terms of support. It has been heartwarming and we are so thankful,” Dalziel said.
He added that while many people might question his brother’s dual citizenship, “you can’t just reject your heritage”.
“He loved this country and would want to come home.” While Malaysia Airlines had lost two planes this year, the Dalziels are not apportioning any blame.
“Look, it’s no one’s fault. What we must concentrate on now is the investigation and getting through this as a family.”
Early reports citing US intelligence officials said MH17 was shot down by a surface-to-air missile, a possible casualty of a rebellion by pro-Russian insurgents in Ukraine.
Meanwhile, the director general for the country’s foreign ministry consular service, Andrii Sybiga, said via the crisis centre website that plans had been drawn up to co-ordinate the work of various government bodies involved in the investigation.
“The investigation will have international dimensions as the victims were foreign citizens. Ukrainian experts are working with international specialists…the bodies will be transferred to Kharkiv, where facilities for identifying victims will be set up,” he said.
Most of the victims were from the Netherlands. AFP reported yesterday that Dutch forensic investigators were already taking samples and analysing them.
Sybiga also said that help would be given to families of the deceased to obtain visas to enter Ukrainian territory.