TN Express mishap: 14 bodies yet to be identified
The charred remains of 14 people, who died in the Tamil Nadu Express fire accident, are yet to be identified and experts said DNA tests would be necessary to ascertain their identities so that the bodies can be handed over to relatives.
Fourteen bodies were lying unclaimed at a government hospital in Nellore, even as a forensic team of the Andhra Pradesh Forensic Science Laboratory inspected coach S-11 at Nellore railway station trying to figure out the reasons behind the flash fire.
Some of the relatives of the missing passengers are yet to reach Nellore. Railway officials said only 14 of the 28 dead were identified by Tuesday afternoon. The remains were kept in a makeshift cold storage at a government hospital for identification.
Railway officials said unidentified bodies will be shifted to Perambur Railway Hospital in Tamil Nadu.
Since majority of the bodies were charred beyond recognition, the identification has become a tough task. The authorities were also preparing for DNA test on the bodies to ascertain the claims of relatives.
The relatives are facing the mental trauma of identifying the skeletal remains bundled in white cloth. Some of them were agitated and argued with the authorities to at least provide them with information such as the berth numbers from where the remains were collected. Of the 14 bodies identified so far, five each were from Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, three from Punjab and Haryana, one each from Jammu and Kashmir and Uttar Pradesh.
Meanwhile, a team of forensic experts inspected the gutted S-11 coach as part of the investigation. “We will submit our findings only to railway officials, conducting the probe,” one of the APFSL officers told reporters. The forensic report will be crucial in view of the claims by some survivors and witnesses that they heard explosions before flames engulfed the coach. There are also reports of traces of kerosene found in the ill-fated coach besides expressing doubts over the claim that a short circuit cause the fire.
“I woke up from berth 69 in S-11, I woke up my cousin sleeping in lower berth and we both ran towards the door,” Madanlal, who boarded the train at Vijayawada said.