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Dutch PM halts search for plane crash victims in Ukraine, citing danger

AMSTERDAM -- The Netherlands' prime minister has called a halt to the search for remains of victims of the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 disaster in Ukraine, saying it is too dangerous to continue.

At a press conference in The Hague Wednesday, Mark Rutte praised the effort of the recovery mission so far, and promised victims' families the search would resume at some time in the future.

Flight 17 was shot down in Eastern Ukraine on July 17, killing all 298 on board. Around 228 coffins have been returned to the Netherlands.

Rutte also said that information from a Ukrainian military doctor who had overseen operations in the days immediately following the crash "has changed the recovery team's perception of an earlier effort undertaken by local authorities."

"There was an intensive search in the area with 800 volunteers," he said.

The Dutch led-international recovery team that arrived in the area later has not found a large number of human remains.

Fighting rages near MH17 crash site in Ukraine

He said that it appears "fortunately that more was done after the disaster than we thought until now."

On Saturday, investigators using sniffer dogs recovered more human remains and personal belongings at the wreckage site, the head of an international recovery mission said.

Speaking from the Ukrainian capital Kiev, Pieter-Jaap Aalbersberg said 70 Dutch and Australian investigators were able to reach the site for the second consecutive day, despite clashes between pro-Russia separatist rebels and Ukrainian forces nearby.

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