Friday, 8 November 2013

Hyderabad bus fire: DNA sleuths reach dead end on bus four

Forensic specialists have reached a dead end trying to identify four of the 45 passengers who were charred to death in the October 30 Volvo crash near Hyderabad, saying the heat had “so deeply carbonised” the bodies that there was “no DNA in them any more”.

Sources in the Andhra Pradesh Forensic Science Laboratory said DNA samples taken from relatives have not matched with the remains thought to be those of Sonu Kumar, Vijay Kumar, Ajay Kumar Chouhan and P. Rajesh of Bangalore. The first three were from Uttar Pradesh. Rajesh was from Bangalore.

“We are seeking expert opinion from other national-level institutions like the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology for an alternative method,” a lab official said.

The speeding Hyderabad-bound Volvo, which had left Bangalore the night before, had skidded while overtaking a car and hit a culvert. The impact ignited the fire.

Relatives identified three of the bodies on the spot, some 130km from Hyderabad, while 42 bodies were shifted to the Osmania hospital mortuary for DNA profiling. They are still trying to identify one body.

The lab had trouble matching the DNA of a toddler with that of her mother. Family members of the nearly two-year-old child had requested authorities to hand over her body and that of a woman in whose lap she was found.

But lab officials decided to wait for the test results, which showed that the child’s DNA did not match that of the woman. A match was found after tests were conducted on the other female victims on the bus. Lab officials said mother and infant were separated when tragedy struck, and the woman found clutching the baby died with her while trying to shield her from the flames.

Friday 08 November 2013


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