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Malaysia Airlines clarifies confusion over flight MH004 route above Syrian airspace

Kuala Lumpur: Malaysian Airlines today clarified the misunderstanding caused by a tweet from Flightradar24 on Malaysia Airlines' flight MH004 from Kuala Lumpur to London that flew over Syrian airspace on July 20 at 1:20 pm local time.

"MH004's flight plan is in accordance to International Civil Aviation Organisation’s (ICAO) approved routes. As per the notice to airmen (NOTAM) issued by the Syrian Civil Aviation Authority, the Syrian airspace was not subject to restrictions. At all times, MH004 was in airspace approved by ICAO,” the airlines authority stated.

Malaysia Airlines maintained that safety of its passengers and crew is of utmost priority. "In recent days, we have been working behind the scenes to establish contact with those in charge of the MH17 crash site."

"That contact has now been made. Under difficult and fluid circumstances, we have been discussing the problems that have occupied us all: securing vital evidence from the aircraft, launching an independent investigation, and above all recovering the remains of those who lost their lives," they added.

Earlier in the day, the airlines' official spoke to Alexander Borodai, who is in command of the region where the tragedy occurred and they have agreed to the following:

The remains of 282 people, currently in Torez, will be moved by train to Kharkiv, where they will be handed over to representatives from the Netherlands. The train will depart this evening Ukraine time, and will be accompanied by six Malaysian members of the recovery team. The remains will then be flown to Amsterdam on board a Dutch C130 Hercules, together with the Malaysian team. Following any necessary forensic work, the remains of Malaysian citizens will then be flown home to Malaysia.

Also, at around 9 pm tonight Ukraine time, the two black boxes will be handed over to a Malaysian team in Donetsk, who will take custody of them.

They also stated that independent international investigators will be guaranteed safe access to the crash site to begin a full investigation of the incident.

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