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Dutch Authorities Say One Malaysia Airlines Victim Was Wearing Oxygen Mask

A photo taken on September 9, 2014 shows part of the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 at the crash site in the village of Hrabove, Ukraine.
A photo taken on September 9, 2014 shows part of the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 at the crash site in the village of Hrabove, Ukraine.

Dutch authorities said one victim of downed Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was wearing an oxygen mask around his neck.

If you remember, that was the flight that is believed to have been shot out of the sky by a missile over eastern Ukraine.

The Wall Street Journal reports:

"The prosecutor said the mask had been checked for fingerprints, saliva and DNA but it was unclear how it had gotten around the passenger's neck. It added that it hadn't found oxygen masks on any of the other victims' bodies that have been recovered.

"The statement came after Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans said in an interview on Dutch television late Wednesday that the passenger was found with a mask over his mouth and suggested it could indicate not all the passengers may have died instantly. Mr. Timmermans later apologized for his remark."

In a statement, Timmermans apologized because he may have caused the family of the victims more grief.

The BBC reports that Timmermans made the revelation after being questioned about his address before the United Nations, where he said he could imagine "the horror felt by the passengers 'when they knew the plane was going down' and wondered whether they had looked each other in the eyes 'one final time, in an unarticulated goodbye.'"

The BBC adds:

"When asked on Wednesday night if he had created an image that had not really taken place, Mr Timmermans said: 'Oh yes? Can you be so sure about that?'

"He acknowledged that those on board would not have seen the missile hit the plane.

'But do you know that someone was found with an oxygen mask on their mouth - and so they had the time to put it on?' Mr Timmermans said."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.