Back home: Mej Muhamad Mustafa talking to the press upon arrival at the KLIA in Sepang. - Bernama
SEPANG: Lt-Kol Mohd Sakri Hussain and Mej Muhamad Mustafa Omar became the faces of Malaysia on televisions worldwide when they received Flight MH17’s black boxes from Ukrainian separatists on Tuesday.
After dealing with the separatists from the Donetsk region, the team was touched by the warm reception they received.
“We were surprised with the cooperation extended by them. They were waiting for us (there) to begin the negotiation process,” said Mej Muhamad Mustafa on his return from Ukraine yesterday.
He said the meeting with separatist leader Alexander Borodai went smoothly.
He said Borodai treated the Malaysian team well.
He, however, declined to touch on the details of the negotiation with Borodai.
Mej Muhamad Mustafa said one of the challenges the team faced was having to go through numerous roadblocks mounted either by the Ukrainian army or the separatist group before arriving at their destination.
“Actually, my task was to accompany the team. Coincidentally, I also have technical background to ensure the black boxes that were given to us were the right ones and with serial numbers that matched with the aircraft,” he added.
He is among 70 members of the special investigation team who returned home after spending eight days in Ukraine.
Their tasks included retrieving the black boxes and bringing out the remains of the victims in the crash.
Kpl Constantine Anji, who is a member of the Special Malaysia Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team (SMART), said an experience which he would never forget was transferring the remains of the MH17 victims on a train to the airport in Kharkiv.
“There were no bodies but only body parts. The smell was unbearable and my heart cried out. But for the country, I braved myself and transferred the remains,” he said, adding that the area where the corpses were transferred was safe and the process took three hours. — Bernama
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