The body of one passenger on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was found wearing an oxygen mask, Dutch prosecutors said on Thursday, raising questions as to whether all on board died instantaneously when the plane crashed in eastern Ukraine in July.
reported that Wim de Bruin, a spokesperson for the Dutch national prosecutor’s office, said the passenger, an Australian, did not have the mask on his face but around his neck.
The report stated that the Dutch national prosecutor’s office is carrying out a criminal investigation into the disaster.
"De Bruin said Dutch forensic experts investigated the mask “for fingerprints, saliva and DNA and that did not produce any result. So, it is not known how or when that mask got around the neck of the victim.”
"De Bruin said no other body recovered from the wreckage was found wearing the mask. He also said he did not know where in the plane the Australian victim was sitting."
MH17 was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur with 298 people on board when it was
by “high energy objects from outside the aircraft”, according to an official report by investigators.
The head of the criminal investigation said the most likely of possible scenarios being investigated was that the Boeing 777 was shot down by missiles fired from the ground.
further reported that relatives of the Australian passenger were told about the mask as soon as it was discovered, but families of other victims heard about it for the first time when the Dutch Foreign Minister, Frans Timmermans mentioned it during an interview on a late-night talk show on Wednesday.
"Relatives of victims began calling investigators on Thursday to ask about the comments," De Bruin was reported to have said.
The foreign ministry issued a statement saying Timmermans regrets his comments, reported
Timmermans was reported to have said, “I have an enormous amount of sympathy for the next-of-kin. The last thing I want to do is compound their suffering in this way.”
There were 43
on board the plane when it crashed.