The Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 black boxes arrived Tuesday in Kharkiv, Ukraine, less than a day after they were turned over to the Malaysian government.
The Washington Post reported pro-Russian separatists turned over the black boxes late Monday. The exchange occurred during a ceremony in Donetsk’s regional administration building. Malaysian delegates were present at the event held in the rebel-controlled region where the airliner was shot down by a missile.
The black boxes were handed over after an agreement was reached with separatists that included the handover of the victims’ bodies and flight-recording devices. Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said Tuesday the Malaysian team now has the boxes in its care and they “appear to be in good condition."
Razak said they “will be held securely in Malaysian custody while the international investigation team is being formalized. At that time, we will pass the black boxes to the international investigation team for further analysis.”
In a tweet Tuesday, British Prime Minister David Cameron said the black boxes would also be analyzed by British air accident investigators, following a request from the Dutch.
The black box and cockpit voice recorders had been taken by the separatists from the MH17 crash site. They initially refused to turn them over but Najib announced Monday an agreement had been reached with separatist leader Alexander Borodai to have the Malaysian team retrieve them.
Following their arrival in Kharkiv, the bodies of the crash victims are being prepped to be sent to Holland. They are being placed in stronger body bags and sealed coffins. The remains will then be sent to Amsterdam for identification. Around 200 body bags are on the train, which departed the crash site on Monday.
Separatist militia had prevented access to the MH17 crash site since the plane carrying 298 passengers and crew went down Thursday and only began loading bodies onto refrigerated train cars Sunday. A tweet from a producer from NBC Nightly News indicates senior National Transportation Safety Board investigators will also aid in the MH17 black box investigation.