SA team heads to ID pilot killed in MH17 downing

2014-07-23 20:16
Cameron Dalziel (Picture: Beeld)

Cameron Dalziel (Picture: Beeld)

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Johannesburg - A team has left South Africa to identify the body of a South African pilot killed when a Malaysia Airlines plane crashed in the Ukraine, his brother said on Wednesday.

Campbell Dalziel, the brother of Cameron Dalziel who was killed in the crash, said he believed the team would be going to the Netherlands, where the remains of those killed were being taken.

"The British foreign office has been good and the Canadian Helicopter Corporation for whom my brother worked have been good," he said.

"Also the SA deputy director of consular services Alfred Brown and Brigadier Helena Ras, of the SA Victim Identification Centre. She's a friend and she's assisted with the DNA swab of my mother and father."

Ras also took ID documents.

"She's going there with all the documents, and dental records, and they are going to do the investigation and ID the body."

Dalziel said the support he and his family had received since the crash had been overwhelming, even from people who did not know his brother.

"The whole situation is a senseless act. My brother was a passenger and he was a passenger with over 200 people on that flight," he said.

"Unfortunately, I don't know other people's families and I'm sure others are sharing what we are going through. There are tears and too many words."

He said a memorial for Cameron would likely be held next week at Virginia airport in the Free State.

"Our condolences to the rest of the families. We know what they are going through and we are just sorry this has taken place."

AFP reported on Wednesday afternoon that the first bodies from flight MH17 arrived in the Netherlands on Wednesday, almost a week after it was shot down over Ukraine.

Grieving relatives and the king and queen solemnly received the as yet unidentified victims.

Church bells rang out throughout the country as the planes touched down with the much-delayed return of the first 40 bodies of the 298 people killed in the disaster, 193 of them Dutch.

The bodies are to be transferred to a military base at Hilversum, south-east of Amsterdam, where forensics experts will identify them.

Flags of the 11 nations that lost citizens in the crash flew at half-mast at the airport in Eindhoven.

- SAPA
Read more on:    ukraine  |  mh17
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