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First MH17 crash victims land in the Netherlands

Two planes carrying the bodies of 40 Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 victims took off from Ukraine and landed in the Netherlands, where a day of national mourning was being observed on Wednesday. Thursday's crash killed all 298 people aboard the Boeing 777, including 193 Dutch citizens.

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A Dutch cargo plane loaded with coffins holding the bodies of some of the Malaysian Airlines plane passengers, leaves for the Netherlands from Kharkiv airport, Ukraine, Wednesday, July 23, 2014.
AP
A Dutch cargo plane loaded with coffins holding the bodies of some of the Malaysian Airlines plane passengers, leaves for the Netherlands from Kharkiv airport, Ukraine, Wednesday, July 23, 2014.

The initial flight carrying human remains departed just after 11 a.m. local time (4 a.m. ET) from Kharkiv, where they were taken by train from the crash scene via the rebel-held city of Donetsk on Tuesday. A short ceremony was held at the airport before the flight took off. Nearly six hours later, the two planes landed at Eindhoven Airport.

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More bodies are expected to be flown to the Netherlands on Thursday. It is not known exactly how many of the bodies have been recovered from the scene of the crash. The train was allowed to leave after Malaysia reached an agreement with the pro-Russia fighters to hand over the recovered bodies for formal identification by Dutch authorities.

—By M. Alex Johnson and Alastair Jamieson, NBC News

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