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The first batch of bodies from Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 were in route to their final resting place Wednesday (July 23). A total of 40 of the 298 passengers killed when the aircraft was shot out of the sky last week, were transported to the Eindhoven Air Base in the Netherlands and Australia.

Two military planes carried 16 of the Dutch remains from Eastern Ukraine back to the Netherlands, where they were met by King Willem-Alexander, Queen Maxima, and Prime Minister Mark Rutte. The country has declared a national day of mourning, and held a moment of silence for the victims.

Ukrainian officials have been criticized over their handling of the crash scene, due to looters stealing personal belongings from the victims, and the slow recovery of the remains. Officials have not yet collected all of the victims, but had so far removed 200 bodies from the wreckage to a train near the crash site.

The Netherlands is now tasked with properly identifying the remains, which could “take months” according to Prime Minister Rutte.

Close to 160 of the passengers and crew members killed on the plane lived in the Netherlands, and 28 in Australia. Of the dead, 80 were children.

See photos below.

Photo: AP Photo

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