Malaysia Airlines victims left behind at crash scene

DONETSK, Ukraine -- A woeful whistle and another stop on the slow journey home. And more bad news. As the train carrying the bodies of crash victims crawled into government controlled Ukraine, it became clear that it was not carrying as many of the victims as grieving families had been told.

As many as a hundred victims had been left behind.

Malaysian investigators, who arrived at the crash scene, discovered what the stench that still hangs over the place meant. There are still human remains here.

Michael Borciurkiw
CBS News
Michael Borciurkiw of the OSCE, a European security agency, says, "We were told there were about 290 bodies on that train. We could not independently verify that ... but as we walk around we still are seeing body parts, not whole bodies. But from the day we arrived here, we've never seen that kind of really detailed combing over of the land."

The inspectors have observed another worrying thing too. The site has changed. Wreckage has been interfered with, moved. Some, they say, has suspiciously disappeared.

"We noticed the guys in uniforms take out a diesel powered saw and start hacking into the fuselage," says Borciurkiw.

Other witnesses say they've seen parts of the plane being driven away on trucks.

The real question is what is left here to find. Parts moved, cut into, taken away. The opportunity to do a credible investigation into this disaster may already have past.

In the first days after the crash, the site was swarming with the armed rebels who are suspected of having shot the plane down.

Now the site is almost deserted. The rebel guards are gone.The question is why.

The suspicion is whatever incriminating evidence might have been on the site, is now gone too.

  • Mark Phillips

    Mark Phillips returned to the CBS News London bureau as a correspondent in 1993. He has covered many major stories since then, including the war in the Balkans, the death of Princess Diana and the weapons inspection conflicts in Iraq.

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