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Jul 18, 2014 6:05 AM by Chelsea DeCesare

Ukraine rebels claim to have found most of the crashed Malaysia Airlines plane's recorders

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) - Emergency workers, police officers and even off-duty coal miners - dressed in overalls and covered in soot - searched through wreckage and bodies scattered across sunflower fields and Ukrainian villages Friday after a Malaysian jetliner flying high above the country's battlefield was shot down, killing 298 people.

Separatist rebels who control the area where the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was brought down said they had recovered most of its black boxes and were considering what to do with them. Their statement had profound implications for the integrity of the plane crash investigation.

U.S. intelligence authorities said a surface-to-air missile downed the plane, but could not say who fired it.

Ukraine, whose investigators have no access to the area, has called for an international probe to determine who attacked the plane and insisted it was not its military.

The crash site was sprawling, spread out over fields between two villages in eastern Ukraine - Rozsypne and Hrabove - and access to it remained difficult and dangerous. The road from Donetsk, the largest city in the region, to the crash site was marked by five rebel checkpoints Friday, with document checks at each.

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