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  1. ITV Report

Sorrow as first victims' bodies from MH17 disaster arrive in Holland

ITV News Correspondent Rohit Kachroo reports

The first victims' bodies from Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 arrived in Holland today as the nation held a day of mourning.

Two planes carrying 40 coffins arrived at Holland's Eindhoven airport from the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, six days after 298 people lost their lives when the airliner crashed in eastern Ukraine.

Pro-Russian separatists have been widely blamed for shooting down the aircraft.

The planes landed to the sound of tolling bells and The Last Post, as Dutch King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima watched on.

Thousands of people lined the route to see the cortege make their way from Eindhoven to a military base at Hilversum where the bodies will be formally identified - a process which may take weeks.

King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima alongside Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte watch on. Credit: Reuters
A coffin of one of the victims is carried from the plane. Credit: Reuters
The convoy of hearses with the remains of the victims of MH17 drive past international flags. Credit: Reuters

Relatives of those killed were also present at the airport, including Barry Sweeney, father of Liam Sweeney, who was one of 10 Britons on board the flight.

Mr Sweeney told ITV News that the service was "very, very moving" and tears were shed as the first coffin was removed.

The mother of Dutch national Bryce Fredriksz, who died along with his girlfriend Daisy Oehlers, said she was happy that the bodies were now being returned home - even though her son's body may still be in Ukraine.

"Those 40 bodies are back home. They are safe and I'm happy. Maybe my son and Daisy aren't there but I'm happy people are back home," Silene Fredriksz-Hoogzand said.

A stewardess leaves flowers at Schiphol Airport during the national day of mourning. Credit: Reuters
People pay their respects in Amsterdam on a national day of mourning. Credit: Reuters

The planes arrived on a national day of mourning in Holland, as church bells rang and flags flew at half-mast in the first day of its kind since Queen Wilhelmina died in 1962.

Many gathered in front of the Royal Palace in Amsterdam for a silent tribute to the victims.

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