Relatives wait to fly to MH17 crash site

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Copy of DVD16_UKRAINE-CRISIS-_0719_11 REUTERS A Dutch flag hangs at half-mast on a windmill as a sign of respect for those killed in the downed Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17. Photo: David van Dam

Amsterdam - Relatives of the 192 Dutch victims of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 are waiting near Amsterdam's Schiphol airport to fly to the crash site in Ukraine, the airline said on Saturday.

“It's not yet known when the families will go,” an airline spokeswoman said, asking not to be named.

Relatives of the Dutch victims and others among the 298 killed in Thursday's disaster over a rebel-held part of Ukraine are gathering at a hotel outside Schiphol, from where the doomed flight took off.

“There is a plane ready to fly to Kiev, but the accident happened 500km from Kiev, so that's very complex logistically,” the spokeswoman said.

“They're still evaluating how to do that and what the safest way is,” the spokeswoman said. She could not say how many relatives had expressed a desire to go to the crash site.

“This isn't just for security reasons, if many people want to go that implies a lot of logistical organisation.”

Ukraine has said that separatist forces are blocking access to the site in the east of the country for Ukrainian investigators and international observers.

US President Barack Obama has said the plane was shot down by a missile launched from an area controlled by Russian-backed separatists in Ukraine. - Sapa-AFP

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