KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — Rebel separatists in east Ukraine said Friday that more human remains have been found at the crash site of a Malaysia Airlines plane that was brought down in July.
The rebel transportation ministry said that the parts were found while wreckage was being removed from the area.
A team of Dutch, Ukrainian and Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe workers last week safely reached the area where the Boeing 777's wreckage is scattered and have resumed recovery work. An unspecified number of human remains have been retrieved during recovery operations.
Rebels remain in control of the site where Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down on July 17, killing 298 people — most of them Dutch citizens.
Separatist authorities said the search operation has been complicated by the presence of unexploded mines and mortar shells on the site.
The transportation ministry of self-declared separatist government of the Donetsk People's Republic said work on removal of wreckage has been suspended and may resume Sunday. OSCE officials will take the remains for examination in the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv.
All the passengers and crew died when the jet flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur ended up in pieces. Dutch air crash investigators have said it was likely struck by multiple "high-energy objects," which some aviation experts say is consistent with a missile strike.
The head of the criminal investigation said the most likely scenario being investigated is that the Boeing 777 was shot down from the ground.
Pro-Russian separatist rebels have always staunchly denied their involvement in bringing down the place, insisting they lacked the weaponry to shoot down such a high target.
Initial investigations on the crash site had to be called off after a matter of days because of raging nearby battles between government troops and rebel forces.