Australia’s special envoy Angus Houston has asked for patience as investigators ended their third day at the MH17 crash site without finding any more human remains.
Air Chief Marshal Houston said there was much work to be done in the large search area in eastern Ukraine.
“We know that the recovery of remains is vital for providing victims’ families with the closure they deserve at this difficult time,” he said in a statement.
A team of 80 Dutch and Australian officials recovered human remains and passenger belongings on the first two days at the crash site.
No human remains were found on the third day.
Specialist Australian Federal Police are assisting with body recovery and identification but are not gathering evidence to investigate the crash.
“I respectfully ask for the continued patience and support of all parties as investigators proceed with their work,” Air Chief Marshal Houston said.
He also thanked all parties for working together to allow the Dutch-led mission access to the site.
It’s been more than two weeks since the Malaysia Airlines plane was shot down, killing all 298 people on board including 38 Australian citizens and residents.
Fighting between Ukrainian troops and pro-Russian separatists has continued in the region, with shelling around the rebel stronghold of Donetsk intensifying in recent days.
The Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) said investigators had not been disturbed by the shelling on day three and were well within Ukrainian territory.
The only hindrance was that they weren’t able to use a drone to help scan the crash site.
“That hasn’t been able to go up to assist in the search process because the rebels still do not feel comfortable with that device up there,” OSCE spokesman Michael Bociurkiw told ABC radio on Monday.