As concerns escalate about evidence tampering at the Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 crash site by the Russian-backed separatist militiamen controlling the area, USA Today is now reporting that the plane’s cockpit has been found sawed in half.
Five days after the July 17 crash, international monitors have finally gained full access to the site in eastern Ukraine, and discovered the cockpit of the downed Boeing 777 had apparently been hacked in half with diesel-powered saws.
“The monitors said said large parts of the cockpit -- and every part of the fuselage -- were carried off,” USA Today reports. “They said they are not sure why such vital pieces of evidence from the downed plane were tampered with.”
"The rear part of the aircraft, one of the biggest intact pieces, has definitely been hacked into," Michael Bociurkiw, a spokesman for the group of international monitors from the Organize for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), told USA Today.
The flight was hit Thursday with what U.S. officials suspect to have been a surface-to-air missile, launched from an area controlled by Russian-backed separatists. All 298 people on board were killed. Both the separatists and Russia have denied responsibility for the shooting.
President Obama has asked Russia to call on the separatists to stop hampering the crash investigation and allow investigators unfettered access to the site.
"The separatists are removing evidence from the crash site," Obama said. "All of which begs the question: What are they trying to hide?"