Sunday, 4 January 2015

AirAsia flight QZ8501: 3 more passengers' bodies identified

The East Java Police's Disaster Victim Identification (DVI) team has released the names of three passengers aboard AirAsia QZ8501 whose bodies have been identified.

"In identifying the victims, the DVI team analyzed primary and secondary data," the team said as quoted by in a press conference at Bhayangkara Police Hospital in Surabaya on Sunday.

The primary data used to identify the victims included such personal markers as fingerprints while the secondary data included identification of sexual organs and accessories they wore, the team said.

Following requests from the families of those on ill-fated AirAsia flight QZ8501, police will not allow media to cover the transfer of bodies identified by its Disaster Victim Identification (DVI) team.

East Java Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Awi Setiyono announced on Saturday that the press would no longer be permitted to cover such transfers, as happened with the first four bodies.

“We plead with our journalist friends: There’s no need for the transfer to be covered. The families have objected. This is a private matter, let’s respect this,” Awi told reporters on Saturday.

The spokesman said the objections were mainly aimed at live television coverage.

On Saturday in Surabaya, the bodies of two more victims were returned to families without a ceremony.

“In both cases, we have a match between ante mortem and post mortem data,” Awi said.

Six bodies have been returned to families as of Saturday, seven days after contact with the plane, which was en route from Surabaya to Singapore, was lost.

Separately, 12 more bodies arrived at Bhayangkara Hospital for identification on Saturday, flown in from Pangkalan Bun, Central Kalimantan, where bodies and debris found at the crash site in the Karimata Strait have been taken.

A total of 30 bodies have been flown to the hospital, including the six returned to families. Awi said two more bodies would soon be returned to families, with two others at the final stage of identification. The rest were still undergoing identification.

Awi said the police were collecting DNA data from victims’ families.

East Java forensic team member Sr. Comr. Hery Wijayatmoko said the team was relying on DNA data. “After being in the water for [seven days, it’s difficult to obtain fingerprints],” Hery said.

He said that the bodies were first labeled and separated based on gender and nationality.

The latter stages involved examining the bodies for post mortem data, including dental documentation, property found on the bodies, as well as fingerprints and DNA data.

“It’s not easy, but we have many experts on the team to help speed up the process,” he said.

A number of forensic experts have joined the team, including those from Brawijaya University in Malang, East Java; Gajah Mada Univeristy in Yogyakarta and the University of Indonesia (UI) in Jakarta.

UI forensic expert Budi Sampurna said that police would autopsy the bodies of the pilot, co-pilot and some of the passengers for their investigation.

“Not all the passengers’ bodies will be subject to autopsy. We’re taking only a sample, because not all the families approve [of this method],” Budi said.

Singapore deploys DVI team A Disaster Victim Identification (DVI) team comprising six officers from the Singapore Police Force (SPF) and two forensic experts from the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) departed earlier today for Surabaya to assist Indonesia in identifying victims of the recent AirAsia QZ8501 tragedy.

Senior Minister of State for Home Affairs and Foreign Affairs Mr Masagos Zulkifli joined family members to send off the DVI team at Changi Airport.

Superintendent (Supt) Sng May Yen, who was also part of the DVI team deployed to Phuket during the aftermath of the 2004 Asian tsunami, said that the team will "do our best and try to help as many families as possible."

He said on Facebook: "We will do all we can to support our Indonesian friends in these difficult times. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and loved ones of the victims."

Sunday 4 January 2014


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