The bodies were met by Dutch King Willem-Alexander, Queen Maxima, Prime Minister Mark Rutte and hundreds of relatives
EINDHOVEN, the Netherlands (AA) – Two military planes carrying the bodies of forty of the 193 Dutch victims of the Malaysia Airlines plane that came down last week in eastern Ukraine, landed in Eindhoven airbase Wednesday.
Silence was observed as the long line of hearses carrying the bodies left the airport for the Van Oudheusden military barracks in Hilversum.
The relatives of the victims will be notified as soon as the bodies are identified, officials said — a process which Prime Minister Mark Rutte said Tuesday could take months.
The remaining bodies are expected to arrive in the country by Friday, and be transferred to the same military barracks for identification.
The Dutch observed a day of national mourning Wednesday during which flags were flown at half mast.
Flight departures and arrivals were delayed for thirteen minutes at all airports across the country during the observance of silence, five minutes prior to the landing of the military planes carrying the bodies.
All flights in and out of Eindhoven Airport were cancelled between 3:45 and 6:00 pm local time.
The last time a day of mourning was declared in the Netherlands was back in 1962 following the death of Queen Wilhelmina.
The Boeing 777-200, en-route to Amsterdam from Kuala Lumpur, was downed Thursday near Hrabove in Donetsk, Ukraine — about 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the Ukrainian-Russian border, killing all 298 people – 283 passengers and 15 crew members on board.
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