Rebel points AK47 at MH17 reporter

PATRICK HATCH
Last updated 13:15 01/08/2014
MH17
Screengrab

THREATENING: The soldier who held Channel Nine correspondent Damian Ryan at gunpoint.

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An Australian journalist had a gun pointed at his head during a terrifying run-in with a pro-Russian rebel near the crash site of flight MH17 overnight.

Veteran Channel Nine correspondent Damian Ryan and his news crew were stopped in their vehicle by a pro-Russian separatist soldier about a kilometre from the crash site in eastern Ukraine.

In a post on Channel Nine's website, Ryan describes the soldier as "very erratic".

"He raised his AK47 and cocked it at our heads, thinking we were Ukraine forces," he writes.

"There was screaming between both parties before he realised we were media, telling us to get out of the area as it was under attack."

Ryan said the area had clearly been the scene of a fierce battle, with evidence of heavy shelling.

The news crew was visiting the site after Australian investigators were for the first time able to attend the crash site on Thursday.

That investigation team was forced to leave the site after just 85 minutes.

"We turned around and got out. This just shows that the area may be safe one moment and outrageously dangerous the next," Ryan wrote.

"The only way the international team can reach the site en masse is if a ceasefire is called; otherwise they can forget it."

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- The Age

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