OCSE inspectors by the train carriages containing the victims of the MH17 crash. (Reuters)
OCSE inspectors by the train carriages containing the victims of the MH17 crash. (Reuters)

The bodies of victims from Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 were loaded onto three refrigerated train wagons in Torez, Ukraine, bound for a rebel-held city.

Nataliya Khuruzhaya, a duty officer at the train station in Torez, which is about 9 miles (15km) from the crash site, told AP she saw the bodies loaded onto the wagons by emergency services workers on Sunday morning.

She said the train was scheduled to head to the town of Ilovaysk, 35 kilometers (22 miles) further east toward the Russian border, but no instructions were given about when it would leave or any possible destinations beyond Ilovaysk.

Russian news agencies reported that the train was heading for rebel-held Donetsk.

Ukrainian authorities said they are setting up facilities in Kharkiv, 200 miles away from the crash site, where relatives of those killed can stay, and autopsies can be performed.

At around midday local time pro-Russian rebel gunmen allowed an OSCE team to inspect the wagons.

"The special monitoring mission in its third day dealing with the incident has now monitored the location where bodies are being refrigerated in three wagons," Alexander Hug, the deputy chief of the mission, told the Guardian.

"We have not been able to count them as that would be too difficult in this situation."

Michael Bociurkiw, the spokesman for the mission, added: "Going inside the wagons is impossible without special equipment. The stench is very very bad."

The OCSE delegation then returned to the crash site in a convoy.

In recent days rebels have limited their access to the site, which remains unsecured.

The Ukrainian government has accused the militants of attempting to cover-up evidence that they were responsible for downing the plane using Russian supplied rockets.

Earlier, Ukrainian emergency workers said that they had recovered 196 bodies from the scene.

"As of 7am on 20 July, in the Shakhtarsky region of the crash site of the Boeing 777, 196 bodies were found," said the Donetsk regional department of the Ukrainian emergency services ministry.

Association Press journalists reported that the bodies were loaded onto trucks by rebels and then driven away.

As of Sunday, the agency reports that there are no bodies at the crash site.

Ukrainian emergency services spokeswoman spokeswoman Nataliya Bystro said that the team had been working under duress, and had been forced to hand the bodies over to the rebels.

She added that she did not know where the bodies are being taken.

Emergency workers are continuing to search the fields for body parts.