HILVERSUM, THE NETHERLANDS — Forensic experts in the Netherlands have this week identified another 62 victims of downed Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, putting the total number of victims identified so far at 127, the Dutch government said Friday, nearly a month after the crash.
The Dutch Justice and Security Ministry said the remains of 62 additional victims had been identified since the previous update on Saturday afternoon. It said 47 of the newly-identified victims were Dutch nationals while the other 15 had a foreign nationality. Relatives of those victims have already been notified.
In total, forensic experts have now identified 86 Dutch victims, including one Dutch national who also had a British passport, and 41 persons who had a foreign nationality. The nationalities of the foreign victims are not known since the Dutch government decided to change its policy with regards to the publication of foreign victims being identified.
"At the request of the embassies of the countries involved, the specific nationalities of victims who are not Dutch will not be released," the ministry said in a statement. "A team of experts is working hard to identify the victims but, as emphasized earlier, it can still take months before each victim has been identified. The media will be notified regularly about the status of this process."
Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin told local media on Thursday that 24 Malaysian victims were among those identified so far. The Dutch ministry, before the policy change last week, had disclosed that 1 German national, 1 Canadian national, and 1 British national were among those identified.
Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 crashed near the city of Torez in eastern Ukraine on July 17, killing all 298 passengers and crew in the world's deadliest aviation disaster since the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States. It is believed the aircraft was downed by a surface-to-air missile which was fired from separatist-controlled territory.
Forensic experts have so far been unable to recover all bodies from the crash site due to ongoing fighting in the area. A total of 228 coffins have been flown back to the Netherlands for identification, but some of the coffins contained only partial remains, and it is unclear how many bodies remain unaccounted for.