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"This is a tragic day, in what has already been a tragic year for Malaysia."
First-hand account of crash site
An American freelance journalist has made his way to the scene of the crash and gave his extraordinary account to CNN.
"It's a gruesome scene. There's bodies splayed out through the fields,” Noah Sneider told CNN’s Anderson Cooper.
“People said the plane kind of exploded in the air and everything rained down in bits and pieces – the plane itself, the people inside."
Sneider said everything is scattered over a few kilometers through a field of tall grass.
The site is “very clearly” in the hands of by separatists, he said.
"It's controlled. It's secured in the sense that there's two sort of nests of rebel fighters at either end of the road."
Bodies are being collected and taken to a white tent, he told CNN. Sneider said he was told the workers are local men who came to help.