SYDNEY, July 22 -- An Australian C-17 military plane flew to the Netherlands on Tuesday in preparation to start returning the bodies of Australian victims of the MH17 crash, local media reported.
According to Fairfax Media, the heavy lift transport plane took off from its base in the Middle East and is heading for the Dutch city of Eindhoven, where the Netherlands' second-largest airport is located.
Victims' remains retrieved from the crash site have been loaded onto refrigerated trains and are bound for the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, from where the Australian plane will assist the Dutch in flying them back to the Netherlands for identification.
International news reports have indicated that 282 bodies as well as recovered body parts have been loaded onto the trains. There were 298 victims of the crash.
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Tony Abbott attended a ceremony at Parliament House to sign a condolence book for the victims of MH17.
Diplomatic representatives of countries that lost citizens on the plane also attended the ceremony and signed their names.