The first bodies recovered from the Malaysia Airlines plane that was downed over Ukraine were flown back on Wednesday to the Netherlands where a national day of mourning has been declared. Members of the Dutch royal family were due to meet the two military transport planes carrying 40 bodies which will undergo identification before being handed over to families. The Netherlands lost 193 citizens on the doomed jet that had 298 passengers and crew on board when it was downed last Thursday in eastern Ukraine, in a region controlled by pro-Russian rebels. Officials at Kharkiv airport held a minute's silence before the coffins were loaded onto the first Hercules plane, which took off at around noon local time.
Italy's once-luxurious Costa Concordia cruise ship embarked on its last voyage on Wednesday, as tug boats began towing it from its island wreckage site to a scrapyard grave in one of the biggest salvage operations in maritime history. Hundreds of onlookers on the Mediterranean island of Giglio, including survivors from the nighttime disaster two and a half years ago that left 32 people dead, watched from shore as the crippled giant began its crawl up the coast. "This is a big day for Giglio but we'll only be able to relax once it reaches Genoa", Nick Sloane, the South African salvage master in charge of the operation, was quoted by Italian news agency Ansa as saying. The rusting liner, roughly twice the size of the Titanic and now hoisted afloat by massive air chambers, will be tugged to the port of Genoa in northwest Italy, where it will be dismantled and scrapped.