A man holds a sign which reads "MH17 Victims Rest In Peace" during a candlelight vigil for the victims who were on board in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on July 19, 2014.
Malaysia Airlines revealed the names and nationalities of all 298 people who were on board Flight 17, which was shot down over eastern Ukraine on Thursday.
Two days after the tragedy, there are no known survivors, and local emergency crews are starting to remove victims' bodies from the crash site. Until now, Malaysia Airlines had only officially released a list of the victim's nationalities, but not their names.
In a statement, the company asked family members to contact Malaysia Airlines' Family Support Centre or Malaysia Airlines' offices in their respective countries, and said airline employees have been unable to reach many of the victims' relatives.
"In the past 45 hours, the airline together with various foreign embassies have made every effort to establish contact with the next-of-kin but is still unable to identify many more family members," the statement said.
The circumstances surrounding the plane's downing remain unclear. U.S. officials on Friday said Flight 17 was downed by a missile shot by pro-Russian separatists; on the same day, the separatists admitted they had a weapon system capable of shooting down planes at high altitudes.
In a leaked audio recording that reportedly includes conversation between pro-Russian rebels and a Russian intelligence agent discussing the shoot-down of a plane, a rebel says, "We have just shot down a plane."
Government officials around the world are asking for a full investigation into Flight 17's crash to determine what happened, but the situation on the ground is making it difficult for investigators to conduct a thorough, independent inquiry. The plane crashed in an area controlled by pro-Russian rebels, who the Ukrainian government has accused of blocking access to the crash site.
Alexsander Borodai, rebel leader and self-declared prime minister of the so-called Donetsk People's Republic, flipped the accusation around, saying that the Ukrainian government is preventing experts from accessing the crash site. Borodai also denied that the rebels tampered with the site.
Meanwhile, forensic teams in the Netherlands started collecting materials to help identify the victims of Flight 17. Local police announced that 40 pairs of detectives from the National Forensic Investigations Team will visit the victim's relatives to build a database of material, including DNA samples and photographs of unique personal features such as tattoos or scars.
Read the full passenger manifest for Flight 17, here:
Additional reporting by The Associated Press
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