Plane crash victims' identification underway

11 Dec 2013 19:10pm
WINDHOEK, 11 DEC (NAMPA) - The remains of victims of the Mozambican plane crash are being examined through the process of Disaster Victim Identification (DVI).
DVI is the method used to identify victims of mass casualty incidents such as aircraft crashes or bomb blasts.
The process involves a range of forensic science techniques used to make a positive identification of the deceased victims, using fingerprints, dental records, and/or DNA profiling.
Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) is a molecule that encodes the genetic instructions used in the development and functioning of all known living organisms and many viruses.
NamPol’s Deputy Inspector-General for Administration, Major-General James Tjivikua said during a media briefing here on Tuesday that the Forensics Pathology Division (FPD) of the National Forensics Science Institute of Namibia (NFSI) is making good progress in completing the examinations within the original time frame of 10 to 14 days.
Flight LAM TM 470 from Mozambique to Angola crashed in the Kavango East Region on 29 November this year, killing all 33 people on board.
“If a positive identification cannot be made from comparing traditional records, DNA matching will be used to potentially identify the remaining deceased.
DNA testing will commence once all examinations of the remains are complete. This is a lengthy process that requires comparing samples taken from the deceased to samples collected from biologically related family members,” said Tjivikua.
He added that in preparation for confirmed identifications, communication and necessary documents have been sent to ambassadors and government designees.
The home country of the deceased will use these documents to notify family members once their loved ones have been positively identified.
In addition to the FSI staff, specialists from 10 different countries, including the United States of America, United Kingdom and Australia, are assisting the Namibian government with the identification of the 499 body parts of victims.
Meanwhile, Tjivikua said investigations at the crash site have been completed. However, the scene is still being guarded.
The police are expected to leave the site at the end of this week.