Thursday, 22 January 2015

Highway accident: Forensic experts complete collection of DNA samples

A team of the National Forensic Science Agency of the National Police Bureau has collected the samples of the victims of the tragic accident on Kathore Link Road and their heirs for the DNA identification process.

At least 62 people were burned alive on the Shikarpur-bound Geo al-Shoaib Coach that had started its journey from Karachi. The overcrowded bus caught fire following a collision with a tanker at around midnight on January 11. As the bodies were charred beyond recognition, the authorities had decided to conduct DNA tests to identify the victims before handing the bodies over to the heirs.

The police investigators had later decided to summon the experts from the facility in Islamabad to collect the samples in Karachi, instead of sending them to the laboratory.

The team arrived in Karachi on Monday, after which the police approached the victims’ heirs again for the collection of blood samples. The DNA experts accepted the samples from the remains of the victims collected by the doctors at the hospital, but the blood samples of the relatives were not accepted as most belonged to distant relatives.

The DNA experts had asked that the parents or children’s blood samples be obtained. “Subsequently, we approached the parents or children of the victims for resampling,” explained Investigations SP Malik Altaf. “Only one victim’s family is left now as his father is currently imprisoned at the Sukkur Jail.”

The officer said that the jail authorities have been asked to collect his sample. He added that the experts have assured the police that they will submit the DNA test reports within two weeks.

Thursday 22 January 2015

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AirAsia Flight 8501: Five more bodies found, divers might reach the wreckage

Divers found five bodies of passengers of AirAsia Flight 8501 belted to their seats near the plane’s fuselage in the Java Sea on Thursday, an Indonesian official said, according to Agence France-Presse (AFP). Rough seas and strong currents have hampered the search efforts for several days.

Three bodies have been retrieved from the sea, while two are yet to be recovered, bringing the total number of bodies found to 58 as of Thursday morning. Officials said they are optimistic that divers would now reach the fuselage where several bodies of passengers are expected to be trapped. The Airbus A320-200 went missing on its way to Singapore from Surabaya, Indonesia, on Dec. 28 with 162 people on board, and crashed after the pilot requested for a change of course to avoid unfavorable weather.

"Our divers found five bodies buried in mud, close to the plane fuselage. They were still belted to their seats," Suryadi B. Supriyadi, director of Indonesia's search and rescue agency, told AFP. "We believe they spilled out of the fuselage, which is 50 to 100 meters away."

Over the past several days, weather had reduced visibility underwater to only 2 meters, making it difficult for divers to reach the fuselage for inspection. However, an improvement in weather on Thursday is expected to help move the search forward.

"But it is a bright, clear day so we remain optimistic that the divers might reach the wreckage today (Thursday)," Supriyadi reportedly said.

The fuselage, which rests at a depth of about 92 feet on the sea floor, was found last week after a search of the shallow waters. The jet’s flight data recorders were also recovered last week and are being analyzed by investigators in Jakarta to help determine the cause of the crash.

Meanwhile, Indonesia’s Transport Minister Ignasius Jonan said Tuesday that the plane had made an abnormally steep climb before stalling and crashing into the Java Sea.

Thursday 22 January 2015

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