The black boxes from the wreckage of the Malaysia Airline MH17 which crashed in Ukraine have arrived at the Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB) in Farnborough.

Six AAIB investigators went to eastern Ukraine this week working with international counterparts to establish the facts of the incident and retrieve information from the flight recorders of the Boeing 777 which was downed last Thursday (July 17).

The boxes arrived in Farnborough on Wednesday morning, a day after being handed over to the Malaysian authorities by pro-Russian rebels on Tuesday.

Investigators will now go through the information from the cockpit voice recorder which will give them two hours of pilots' conversations as well as studying the contents of the flight data recorder (FDR).

It is thought that the AAIB will be able to send details of their findings to the Dutch authorities within 24 hours - giving the experts in the Netherlands further information of the last moments of the doomed aircraft as it fell to earth.

The Kuala Lumpur-bound plane, Flight MH17, was carrying 298 people from all over the world , including some Britons , and crashed at around 2.15pm GMT in a rural part of the country near the Russian border.

It is thought the plane was shot down by a surface-to-air missile, possibly by pro-Russian protesters due to the recent tensions between Russia and Ukraine.

Robert Ayley, originally from Guildford, was one of those on board MH17
Robert Ayley, originally from Guildford, was one of those on board MH17

Russian separatists have been clashing with Ukrainians for several months in demonstrations calling for closer ties with Russia, and Crimea, a peninsula at the south of Ukraine, joined the Russian Confederation following a controversial referendum in March.

Newly-appointed foreign secretary Philip Hammond offered his condolences to those affected by the 'appalling incident' and said experts at the AAIB may be offered to help investigate the tragedy.

"We’re determined to get to the bottom of understanding what has happened here," said Mr Hammond

"We believe the United Nations, particularly the United Nations civil aviation organisation, is the right body to lead that investigation and we will provide it all the support we can, including technical support through the AAIB."

Mr Hammond also joined other EU foreign ministers in Brussels for talks about the shooting down of the Boeing 777-200 and possible sanctions against Russia.

Prime minister David Cameron also said he was confident the AAIB team from Farnborough would retrieve the data.


""The feeling is that the AAIB and the experts at Farnborough are some of the most highly qualified people anywhere in the world to examine the black box and what it may contain," he said, before calling on the Russians to release whatever they know about to MH17.

Meanwhile the train containing around 200 bodies of those killed and the black boxes arrived in Kharkiv, which is controlled by the Ukrainian government, at 10.30am on Tuesday.

A spokesman for the UK Department for Transport said the AAIB team at Farnborough were confident they will be able to retrieve all the information from the black boxes within 24 hours of receiving them.

The AAIB will not publish their findings but will pass them to the Dutch authorities who will then decide what information can be given out.

Mr Cameron's official spokesman said that the UK experts would download data from the two black boxes, overseen by an international oversight body, and the information will then be sent to a Dutch and Ukrainian team for analysis.

The AAIB was also involved in the investigation into the disappearance of Flight MH370, another Malaysian Airlines plane, which went missing with a trace en-route to Beijing on March 8.