Sunday, 18 January 2015

QZ8501: Five bodies identified through DNA from personal belongings

The East Java Police Disaster Victim Identification (DVI) team has identified five more bodies out of the 162 people who were on board the crashed AirAsia flight QZ8501 on Saturday. reported the bodies were identified through DNA samples obtained from the victims’ personal belongings.

“The bodies were identified through DNA obtained from the victims’ personal belongings such as their combs and toothbrushes and not through DNA obtained from their family members.

The method was used because the victims’ DNA during the post-mortem had deteriorated. As such we had to gather antemortem data from their personal belongings,” DVI chief Budiyono told reporters.

To date, 45 out of 51 bodies found have been identified, with nine more still being processed.

AirAsia Indonesia Flight QZ8501 crashed on Dec 28 with 155 passengers and seven crew members on board while en route to Singapore from Surabaya, Indonesia.

Sunday 18 January 2015

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China boat capsize on Yangtze river kills 22

Twenty-two people have been confirmed dead after a tugboat capsized on the Yangtze river in eastern China, state media report.

The boat, with 25 people on board, overturned on Thursday while it was conducting tests near Zhangjiagang, in Jiangsu province.

Eight foreigners were among those on board, including Singaporean, Indian, Malaysian and Japanese nationals.

Three people have been rescued, and the boat has been hauled out of the water.

The foreigners on board were four Singaporeans, one Malaysian, one Indonesian, one Indian and one Japanese, state-run news agency Xinhua reported.

The three people rescued were all Chinese, Xinhua added.

The tugboat, the 30-metre (98-foot) long Wanshenzhou 67, was undergoing tests, with the ship's owner and a team of engineers on board.

The Wanshenzhou 67 was registered in Singapore.

One survivor who was rescued early on Friday, Wang Chenhua, said they had been taking the vessel for a trial voyage.

Mr Wang, who was in the cockpit with a 60-year-old Japanese engineer acting as his translator, said that soon after they had conducted a load test for the boat's main engine, the boat "suddenly turned over" to the left.

He said water rushed into the cockpit which was fully flooded "within 20 seconds". He survived by holding onto a hydraulic pump that was not submerged.

Mr Wang added that he had tried to hold on to the Japanese engineer, but they were separated as the boat sank further.

The boat was constructed in China's Anhui province last October. Local officials told Xinhua the boat had not properly reported its route and work plans to the port authorities.

Sunday 18 January 2015

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Volunteers search for Malawi flood victims

While helicopters and boats have been deployed in a military search and rescue operation for victims of devastating floods in Malawi, families and friends of the missing are digging for bodies.

Armed only with hoes, six young men on Saturday combed the banks of a new watercourse created by flash floods through Chilobwe, a shantytown five kilometres (three miles) from the commercial capital Blantyre.

Digging at heaps of sand and debris, they were hoping to find the bodies of three people who were swept away five days earlier.

"We have not lost hope. We hope to find the bodies to give our friends a dignified funeral," Rodney Chikoja, one of the volunteers, told AFP.

Among those missing is a medical student who was set to graduate this year and had returned home for a weekend to visit his parents, who survived the disaster.

A total of 176 people have been confirmed dead in the floods, with 153 missing and 200,000 homeless, according to official figures.

The floods have wreaked havoc across half the impoverished southern African country's 28 districts, washing away homes, crops and livestock and disrupting power supplies.

Police said four bodies had already been found along the stream through Chilobwe, buried in sand.

Sunday 18 January 2015

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