Rebel Leader confirms that 'bits' of the 2 black boxes have been recovered and are in his custody. The big question: Why is he now talking about 'bits' when these units are designed to withstand execeptional trauma, and the earlier video footage (courtesy Reuters)of one being carried at the crash site shows the 'dayglo' orange painted unit in once piece?
Sunday 12 Noon: Julian Bray Aviation Security Expert and Journalist writes: President Putin hopefully has a very thick skin and his press relations man a fast Air Ticket out of Russia? Simply the President isn't getting a bad International press, its far, far, far, worse than that. But stepping back from the media view of what has happened, where do we all go from here?
Simply as international pressure grows on Moscow to allow the pathfinding observers free and unfettered access to what has to be regarded as a crime scene. A ceasefire first needs to be in place and the safety of the observers agreed by all sides. Following which, the actual investigators will then arrive to carry out the detailed work which in normal terms could take one to three years.
Ideally, the investigators would need the entire crash site or 'crime scene' roped off, then fully blocked ie a grid pattern established. Each grid photographed with any items number referenced with tent card markers.
The photographs are taken from several angles, and then a digivideo taken. Only then will the gloved fingertip search of the grid take place. Items all then carefully bagged and tagged. Clearly that isn't happening as live pictures show people walking all over the debris, some of it still burning. Video has also emerged of a person holding a dayglo orange coloured cylindrical shaped piece of debris; this could be one of the voice data recorders or a 'black box' previously reported by agencies, as already on their way to Moscow.
Legal documents such as passports, identity cards and so on would also be tagged and cross referenced with the grid. Bodies on the ground would also be plotted on the grid reference documentation, so all the effects can at a later stage be married up and a realistic picture 'or snapshot' of what happened established.
So the news today (Sunday) that 'rebels' have bagged and removed, by train, some 196 bodies from the crime scene, clearly without any detailed recording of information to a degree that passes international scrutiny, is a major blow to the overall investigation.
There remains very little doubt that flight MH 17 (Flight MH17 to be retired and redesignated MH19 says Malaysian Airlines) was downed by a BUK Russian surface to air missile, and we in the West can only hope that it was indeed a catastrophic mistake, and not a deliberate act targeting a civil aircraft.
Which faction actually pushed the trigger button remains to be established, but its confirmed today the Russia iscontinuing to supply the 'rebels' with heavy military equipment, some 15 trucks overnight have reportedly travelling through the open border into Ukraine.
The airline has tried to repeatedly justify the continued flying of its aircraft (along with many other airlines) directly over what has to be considered a highly unstable, lawless, war zone. It should be fully understood that the final binding decison to fly into or over a war zone rests with the Captain of the aircraft, not Eurocontrol, Air Traffic Control or airline management.
I understand the route was fully approved by Eurocontrol, but that ignores the number of 'NOTAMs' issued, particularly a batch in June/early July, NOTAMs Notice to Airmen strongly advised 'airmen' to avoid this conflict zone. Some airlines took the hint and immediatly rerouted their flights, British Airways being one - at great financial cost in terms of increased fuel burn, securing a revised landing slot, and paying the ground handling agents crews. KLM in a code sharing arrangement with Malasian Airlines contunued to fly until very recently over the war zone.
British and international air accident crash investigators are apparently in the region just waited for permission to enter the territory, but a ceasefire needs to be put in place first.
On the political stage, there is little that can be effectively achieved. Politicians are suggesting that International pressure needs to be applied, but as Russia supplies a third of the UK's Gas and a like amount to other parts of Europe; the range of options would seem to be limited. The latest word is that European foreign ministers will meet on Tuesday to consider the application of economic and financial sanctions.
Clearly as David Cameron the British prime minister confirmed earlier this morning military action isn't a proposition. The UK is no longer a world military power, put it down to budget overspends by a not very fincially disciplined MOD, project cancellations, delay in overseas sourced kit and reduction in manpower in all services.
There is of course the United Nations, but that is as history tells us, a lengthy complicated process, and it only needs an application of a veto by one country to either halt or complicate matters. Importantly time is of the essence, and that sadly is rapidly running out.
On another level what is the future for Malaysia Airlines? Simply its bleak. Word in the industry is that despite a period of cost cutting and offering low cost travel, its still losing money and that the government controlled airline was to be offered to the private sector, or handed iover to its code sharing partner KLM.
Those plans are currently on hold, with two major air incident investigations currently underway and the substantial extra costs associated with victim support and the prospect of a series of class legal civil actions currently being prepared for Court. Few organisations can survive this type of onslaught, so either its wound up, the leased aircraft reverting to the leaseowners, or taken over by a 'new' slimmed down airline.
Clearly the situation is complicated and currently lacks any form of logic, there is no command or control. This is already a perfect storm with no end in sight.
David Cameron has taken to social media this is an edited version of his post:
- First, there must be immediate access to the crash site and the crime scene must be preserved
- The remains of the victims must be identified, treated with proper respect and dignity and returned to their families.
- There must be a ceasefire.
- And there must be a full investigation into what happened.
- Russia will have plenty of information about these events which it must make fully available — and straight away.
JULIAN BRAY, Media, Aviation, & Travel/Cruise Industry Expert. Broadcaster & Journalist, Regional Politics, EQUITY, NUJ. UK Tel: 01733 345581 ISDN 01733 345020