A third solemn ceremony was held Friday as the remains of more victims of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 were returned to the Netherlands. The arrival of an additional 74 coffins marked the third day in a row that bodies from the crash site in Ukraine arrived back in the country from which the doomed flight departed last Thursday.
Two military aircraft transported the bodies from Kharkiv in Ukraine to the Netherlands’ Eindhoven airfield. Over the past few days, thousands of people have come out to watch hearses make the 160-mile trip from Eindhoven to a Dutch military facility in Hilversum where forensic investigators will examine the remains.
"It’s terrible what happened over there," Rinze van der Ploeg, who was among the mourners on Friday, told NBC News. "I want to give my condolences to all the victims and all the family and friends of the victims."
Flight MH17, a Boeing 777, was shot down July 17 en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. All 298 people on board were killed. Of the dead, 194 were Dutch citizens.
The first bodies of MH17 victims arrived in the Netherlands on Wednesday. The country observed a national day of mourning -- the first since the death of then-Queen Wilhelmina in 1962 -- as 40 bodies arrived at the military base in wooden coffins.
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On Thursday, an additional 74 bodies were transported to the military base, followed by 74 more on Friday. The Dutch Safety Board announced Friday that by the end of next week, it expects to publish the “initial factual findings” of its investigation into the plane crash.