A plane carrying the first remains of Malaysian victims of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 arrived Friday morning at the Kuala Lumpur airport as the nation prepared to mark the return with a day of mourning.
The flight, which landed at 9:54 a.m. (9:54 p.m. Thursday ET), carried the remains of 20 of the 43 Malaysian passengers from among the 298 passengers and crew who perished when the jet crashed after it was struck by a surface-to-air missile over Ukraine last month. They were flown from Amsterdam, where remains were taken because the flight originated there and the Dutch government is in charge of the investigation. Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte suspended search efforts earlier this month because of dangerous conditions created by fighting between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian rebels.
The 20 passengers were being mourned with flags at half-staff and a nationwide observance of two minutes of silence, the New Straits Times newspaper of Kuala Lumpur reported. "Today we mourn the loss of our people. Today, we begin to bring them home," Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said in a statement.
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— Shanshan Dong and M. Alex Johnson