International monitors attempting to inspect the crash site of Flight MH17 in Ukraine have been blocked from the site by pro-Russian rebels for a second day.
The 30-strong delegation from the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) who arrived on the scene at the village of Hrabove were only allowed to perform a superficial inspection before being turned away by armed militiamen.
Investigations into exactly what brought down the aircraft are being hampered because the crash site lies within a conflict zone operating outside normal rules of jurisdiction.
Tony Cable, who worked for the UK’s Air Accidents Investigation Branch for 32 years, said that under normal conditions the area would be treated like a crime scene.
“Normally, once the search-and-rescue phase looking for survivors had finished there would be vast numbers of security people in there keeping out anyone who shouldn’t be there as it’s not uncommon for people to take souvenirs which can cost evidence,” he said.
“There would be a major priority to get the flight recorders out and there would be a team of investigators on the ground looking at the early wreckage which is more likely to be items knocked off by a missile explosion.
“Priority in a case like this would be to record the wreckage distribution which is important in a flight break up.”
Sky News’ chief correspondent, who is at the scene, said: “Air crash investigation? There isn’t one. The debris field is huge, I mean, miles and miles of it. I can’t see that a proper investigation will ever really happen.”
According to the International Civil Aviation Authority, responsibility for an investigation belongs to the state in which the accident or incident occurred.
Although Flight MH17 came down in Ukraine, the crash site is effectively under the control of pro-Russian separatists who in April declared the area to be the Donetsk People’s Republic.
Chris McGee, a pilot and aviation consultant told Sky News that preserving the crash site and keeping its integrity is critical.
“The area must be maintained as sterile as possible for as long as possible until the investigators have had every single opportunity to glean every single piece of information,” she said.
But Ramsaysaid that even two days since the crash the area has yet to be sealed off.
“So far there is no proper recovery process in place,” he said.
“With the Ukraine separatists and the Ukraine government arguing over who carried out this attack, it’s vitally important that an air investigation gets under way.
“The separatists say the investigators will be allowed in when it’s safe. But it needs to happen quickly because with every day that passes this crime scene deteriorates.”
He added: “We are not a step further on than the moment after the attack on the plane took place.”