ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Victims' remains handled with care, respect - Dr Muhammad Akmal
Flight MH17 Special Investigation Team to Ukraine translator, Dr Muhammad Akmal Salleh said the process in handling the remains of the crash victims was conducted with care and respect even though 90 percent of the remains had changed in terms of physical characteristics.
He said the team's task was very challenging as some of the remains were still intact while others were broken and charred due to the tragedy.
"We separate the remains and place them in different coffins and label them carefully so that the crash evidence is not lost," he said when interviewed as a special guest during the 'Dalam Radar' programme produced by BERNAMA Radio 24 in Kuala Lumpur, Tuesday.
Dr Muhamad Akmal about 133 of the Malaysian special investigation team members arrived in Ukraine last July 18 following the Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight MH17 crash in Donetsk, east Ukraine the day before.
The team returned to the federal capital on August 1, after retrieving the victims' remains and took back the aircraft's black box.
Sharing his two-week long experience, he admitted to have felt choked by emotions while helping the team handled the victims of flight MH17 that crashed last July 17.
"Although together with the team members, I had felt pained at that time, I continued with efforts to take out the remains from the special freight that was located about 200 km from the crash site," he said.
He was obliged to assist in the gathering and labelling of the remains even though it was outside his field, said Dr Muhamad Akmal.
"I am a pediatrician who treats patients in the hospital and this experience is a challenge to me. Despite not within my field, I was given the opportunity to help them to transfer, label and gather the victims' remains in the freight area.
"Nevertheless I felt proud to be given the chance to participate and, at least, serve the country despite being given whatever tasks, including as a translator," said the doctor, who graduated from the Russian State Medical University in Moscow and could speak Russian well.
MAS flight MH17 was carrying 298 people, including 15 crew, when it went down in Donetsk, in east Ukraine near the Russian border on July 17.
The aircraft, which was on its way from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, was believed to have been shot down but no one had claimed responsibility so far.
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