MH17: Black box tampering feared

02:55, Jul 20 2014
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A pro-Russian separatist stands at the crash site of MH17 near the settlement of Grabovo in Ukraine's Donetsk region.
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A man looks at debris from Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 which landed in a field of sunflowers in Rassipnoye, Ukraine.
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Coal miners take a break after searching fields looking for remnants of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in Grabovo, Ukraine.
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A man shows a piece of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 which landed in his garden in Rassipnoye, Ukraine.
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Wreckage is pictured at the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, near the Ukraine settlement of Grabovo.
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Flowers and mementos lie on wreckage at the crash site of MH17, near the Ukraine settlement of Grabovo.
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Mementos placed at the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 near the Ukraine settlement of Rozspyne in the Donetsk region.
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Wreckage is pictured at the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, near the Ukraine settlement of Grabovo in the Donetsk region.
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Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 wreckage near the Ukraine settlement of Grabovo.
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Flowers, candles and other tributes in front of the Netherlands embassy in Kiev, Ukraine, in memory of the victims of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17.
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Members of the Ukrainian Emergency Ministry carry a body near the wreckage at the crash site of MH17, near the settlement of Grabovo.
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People look at flowers and messages left by local residents for MH17 crash victims outside the Dutch embassy in Kiev, Ukraine.
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Kiev residents light a candle for victims of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, outside the Dutch embassy in Ukraine.
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People look at flowers and messages left by Kiev residents for victims of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, outside Ukraine's Dutch embassy.
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Members of the Ukrainian Emergency Ministry carry a body at the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, near the settlement of Grabovo.
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A pro-Russian separatist stands at the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, near the settlement of Grabovo in Ukraine's Donetsk region.
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A pro-Russian separatist guards the crash site of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17.
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Flowers and mementos are left for the victims of the plane crash.
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Monitors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and members of a forensic team inspect the remains of victims from the downed flight MH17, at a railway station in the eastern Ukrainian town of Torez.
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Bodies are loaded into a truck at the crash site by Ukrainian Emergencies Ministry staff.
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A pro-Russia rebel guards a train containing the bodies of victims of the Malaysia Airlines crash.
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Senior Ukrainian separatist leader Aleksander Borodai gestures as a rebel places the black boxes of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 on a desk.
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A satellite image shows the crash site of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in Ukraine, dangerously close to a village.
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A guard stands on the train carrying the remains of MH17's victims as it arrives in the city of Kharkiv after days of delays.
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Armed pro-Russian separatists watch as monitors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and Malaysian air crash investigators inspect the crash site.

Malaysia is worried the black box recording devices of MH17 will be tampered with to protect those who shot down the plane, as a United Nations' agency said Ukraine would be officially in-charge of investigations into the crash.

Malaysia's prime minister Najib Razak said after meeting relatives of victims that the black boxes are owned by Malaysia.

"Those who have no rights whatsoever cannot claim or take control of the black box," he said.

flight data recordr
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Aviation experts say the boxes, which contain cockpit and data recordings, would establish for certain where the surface-to-air missile that brought the Boeing 777 down was fired from.

Malaysia's minister of transport Liow Tiong Lai said his country does not know whether the devices have been recovered from the crash site in eastern Ukraine.

Within hours of the crash there were unconfirmed reports the black boxes had been sent to Moscow.

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black boxes
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Australian aviation expert Desmond Ross said it is crucial the black boxes be kept safe and taken to an independent authorised laboratory.

"That will tell us almost everything," Captain Ross said.

"I am concerned that if, as is being reported, the Russians have them, they may be altered or that some data will mysteriously disappear," he said.

 The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), the Montreal-based UN agency regulating aviation, said under international conventions Ukraine will be officially in-charge of the investigation because the plane crashed there.

But the ICAO said in a statement that other countries will also be to participate or appoint experts to the investigation, which will presumably include Malaysia and other countries whose citizens were killed, including Australia.

Sydney Morning Herald