Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Search for Bodies in Capsized Eastern Star Ship Search Ends: Identification of Victims Begins, Seach for 8 Missing People Continues in River

China has confirmed that 434 bodies have been found and eight are still missing from the Eastern Star cruise ship, which capsized on the Yangtze River following a tornado on the night of June 1. Officials have began identifying the victims and releasing their bodies to their relatives.

According to local sources, DNA identification and forensic analysis is being used to help identify the victims in order to have their bodies returned to their families. Experts have already collected DNA samples from the recovered bodies.

They also finished collecting blood samples from the victims' relatives who helped in their identification. Presently, up to 281 victims have been identified through their DNA, according to CCTV. On Tuesday, encoffiners in Jianli County began to hold encoffination ceremonies for the 434 victims of the Yangtze River accident, according to Xinhua.

Min Jianxion, associate counsel for China's Ministry of Public Security, said authorities will use different methods to to identify victims from their DNA if their immediate relatives are not available.

According to CRI English, one option is to dispatch people to the residences of the victims in order to collect DNA samples from their immediate relatives and match them with the bodies found.

Experts consider DNA sampling to be one of the most reliable ways of identifing a person. China reportedly has 145 DNA testing specialists divided into 21 groups, who are responsible for collecting and matching victims' DNA. Once matches are confirmed, the personal belongings of the victims will also be returned to their relatives.

Meanwhile, insurance companies have initiated a "green channel" so that relatives of the victims of the capsized Easter Star can speed up their claims.

China Insurance Regulatory Commission deputy chairman, Huang Hong, said insurance companies have been told to make the claiming process simpler and faster. Under normal circumstances, the death certificate or certificate of permanent residence de-registration of the insured person must be presented to forward claims, however, this step has reportedly been ignored. All they have to do now is get the certificate from the government before they can avail claims.

Meanwhile, Global Times reported that the Eastern Star will be moved from the site in order to allow divers to continue their search for the missing victims. The ship will be tugged 10km upstream in Jianli County. The search for the remaining eight people would reportedly be extended to approximately 1300 km along the Yangtze River, where the Eastern Star ship capsized while going downstream to Shanghai's Wusong Estuary.

Wednesday 10 June 2015


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