The first plane carrying bodies from downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 on Wednesday left eastern Ukraine for the Netherlands following a sombre ceremony, an AFP journalist at the scene said. The Dutch military aircraft took off from the airport in the government-controlled city of Kharkiv bound for Eindhoven after the first group of victims' remains were loaded onto the plane in wooden coffins. Grieving families and Dutch royals are due to receive the bodies as flags fly at half mast on a day of mourning across the nation, which lost 193 citizens in the flight that was allegedly blown out of the sky by a missile, turning civilians from a dozen nations into casualties of a remote conflict raging in eastern Ukraine.
Italy's doomed cruise ship Costa Concordia left its wreckage site Wednesday in one of the largest-ever maritime salvage operations, two and a half years after the disaster left 32 people dead. The ship, which capsized two and a half years ago off the Tuscan island of Giglio, is progressing at close to two knots (3.7 kilometres, 2.3 miles per hour), engineer Sergio Girotto, one of the heads of the operation, told Italian television.