Australians are still reeling after Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 was shot down over the Ukraine over a week ago. Two hundred and ninety eight people were on board. Thirty seven of them were Australians.
For the victims families, the anguish is relentless.
And now, in an interview to air on 60 Minutes tonight, another devastated Australian family has spoken out.
Canberra sisters Chelsea and Cassie Derden were looking forward to welcoming their 50-year-old mother Liliane home last week. Instead, they received the crushing call that their mum was on board the downed plane.
As the sisters now reveal, it’s the indignity with which their mother’s body – and all the bodies on board the plane- have been treated at the crash site that continues to play on their minds.
Their worries stem from news bulletins and images from the Eastern Ukrainian crash site, all emphasising the one shocking truth. The site has not yet been properly secured by officials- it’s still squarely in the control of separatists.
The Derden sisters have called this mismanagement of the crash site “completely inhumane”.
“I’m disgusted, absolutely disgusted at the way that people have treated this and treated these people like they’re nothing, like they’re a bit of meat or like a trophy,” Cassie Derden said.
Startlingly, even now, two weeks on from the tragedy occurring, the crash site remains unsecured. Though victims bodies are slowly being returned home, other unrecovered bodies continue to openly decompose. The victims possessions, what has not been removed or stolen, are scattered everywhere.
“That’s I think what was playing with my head a little bit as well, um just the fact that the poor people, you know, in that heat, just you know treated like nothing and laying there, just disturbs me,” Chelsea Derden said.
Chelsea and her sister were equally distressed when reminded of reports from Kiev that victims’ possessions were being actively looted from the crash site.