A Dutch-led forensic team says it has identified the remains of 23 victims aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, including a 24-year-old medical student from Ajax, Ont.

Andrei Anghel had been studying in Romania, and was on board the plane that was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur with his girlfriend, headed to Bali for a vacation.

A Dutch Justice Ministry spokesman said the forensic team has identified 18 Dutch victims, two Malaysians, a German and a Canadian.

Anghel was the only Canadian on the flight that was shot down July 17 over Eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 aboard.

Anghel's sister, Alexandra, who goes by Lexi, told CBC News the family is waiting for Dutch authorities to release Anghel's remains to Blake Emergency Services, the company hired by Malaysia Airlines to handle the repatriation of bodies. 

Pro-Russian rebels have publicly denied downing the plane but one top rebel has told The Associated Press that the insurgents were involved.

The head of the Dutch forensic team says the bodies of about 176 people are "more or less" intact, and they are trying to identify the remaining victims from partial remains.

The dental records and fingerprints of victims have been gathered and DNA profiles are being assembled in a process expected to take months.

'So final and real'

It may take weeks for Anghel's family to see his remains after victims' remains were transported to the Netherlands on Wednesday.

"At this point we still don't know exactly what date he's coming home," Lexi said. "My parents will fly out to Holland to take him home themselves."

Lexi said upon hearing the news this week she had "mixed feelings, relief first and foremost, that he is one of the people they have identified already and so fast. But it definitely re-opened the wound a bit. It makes it so final and real." 

Anghel's family has been in contact with the Ajax town councillor who has proposed a memorial for him along the waterfront trail in Ajax and is hoping to get something put in place as soon as possible, though it'll most likely happen in the fall because many councillors are away and the project needs approval before going ahead.

With files from CBC News