Searching for remains at MH17 crash site

80 bodies could still lie at the crash site.

People inspect the crash site of a passenger plane near the village of Grabovo, Ukraine, Thursday, July 17, 2014. Ukraine said a passenger plane carrying 295 people was shot down Thursday as it flew over the country, and both the government and the pro-Russia separatists fighting in the region denied any responsibility for downing the plane. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)

UKRAINE (CNN) – In eastern Ukraine, a shaky ceasefire around the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 seemed to eventually take hold on Friday. The skyline around MH17’s crash site did not bode well for inspectors trying to work there en masse.

The frontlines changing so fast here, we drove into something extraordinary. The Ukrainian army, just two miles from the wreckage. They’ve been saying they’re advancing for days, but that is the first visual confirmation that the Ukrainian army is now two miles from the crash site.

And then, grad rockets, in their wake. The fighting consistent, as we neared the crash site where so many souls have found so little dignity. But under the shade of the trees, gathered in a moment of respectful silence, was a sight so many had waited two weeks for.

The full compliment of Dutch and Australian inspectors, finally here. “We are in a very special place and in a very special time on this field of remembrance. A lot of grief is attached to this place.”

“We are expecting to have search dogs here in the near future, and other technologies we will use to try and maximize our time on task.” Artillery though, the backdrop.

The work slow, grim, detailed. With cameras, gloves and buckets, but vital. The relatives of the 298 people who died on MH17 have waited over two weeks for this moment, for this work to begin in earnest. But one key question remains. How consistent, how thorough can they be here with the noise of artillery still on the horizon?

80 bodies could still lie out around here at the mercy of the elements, even fire. These pictures showing one piece of plane wreckage in a field scorched by a fire just on Thursday. We don’t know what caused it.

Vital work has begun in these fields. But, no answer it yields can undo the small and final indignities inflicted here.

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