Malaysia falls silent for a minute as remains of 20 MH17 victims return
In a solemn ceremony on Friday morning (Aug 22) Malaysia Airlines Flight MH 6129 returned home the remains of 20 Malaysians who died when MH17 crashed in Ukraine in July.
The flight touched down on the tarmac of Kuala Lumpur Airport (KLIA) at 9.55am.
Malaysia’s King Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah, Prime Minister Najib Razak and other top officials were on hand for a solemn ceremony to receive the coffins.
Dressed in full ceremonial gear, pall bearers silently transferred the remains from the plane to the hearses that were waiting on the tarmac a short distance away from the plane.
According to a report in the Star Online, Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said that three of the 20 remains had been cremated in the Netherlands and would be brought home in urns.
Seventeen coffins and three urns, all wrapped in the flag of Malaysia, were transferred from the plane.
After all 20 bodies were transferred, Malaysia stood silent at 10.54am as a minute of silence was impeccably observed all over the country.
Day of observance
The authorities had earlier asked citizens of the Muslim-majority country to refrain from festive activities and don black attire out of respect for the victims.
According to an AFP report, the plea was observed as commuters that streamed into the bustling streets of the capital Kuala Lumpur earlier in the morning were overwhelming black-clad, while state television aired recitations from the Koran and flashed photos of the Malaysian victims.
Black mastheads of newspapers in Malaysia. Instagram screengrab/@wenjun26
Malaysia has said 30 of its citizens on board MH17 had so far been identified.
Further remains will return in the coming days.
The search for further remains was called off earlier in August due to clashes between Kiev and the pro-Moscow rebels.
Investigations are continuing into who was responsible for the tragedy.
Source: The Star Online, AFP