Updated: 07/18/2014 02:08 | By Agence France-Presse

Many dead at airliner crash site

Dozens of severely mutilated corpses could be seen strewn in the wreckage of a Malaysian airliner that crashed Thursday in rebel-held eastern Ukraine but there were no signs of survivors, an AFP reporter at the scene said.

Many dead at airliner crash site

A picture taken on July 17, 2014 shows smoke and wreckage of the Malaysian airliner carrying 295 people from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur after it crashed, in rebel-held east Ukraine - by Dominique Faget

Debris was spread out for kilometres and the tail of a passenger jet lay in a corn field with the Malaysian Airlines insignia on it while insurgent fighters and several fire trucks were seen nearby the crash site.

Eyewitnesses told AFP that the jet appeared to explode in mid-air before wreckage rained down over a large area. 

Shocked local residents struggled to take in the scene of the carnage and said that remnants of the jet had been found in a village some 9 kilometres from the centre of the crash site.  

"I had just gone to sleep at around 1600 (1300 GMT) when I heard an enormous bang," Katya, 64, told AFP. "It was like an earthquake."

Her daughter Natalya, 36, said that she had fled to safety when the sound of the explosion rumbled overhead.

"I took my baby and went and hid in the basement," she said.

There was no sign of any rescue workers going through the gruesome site. 

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