Poignant scenes at Victoria Hospital

Poignant scenes at Victoria Hospital

 Utter gloom prevailed at the Victoria Hospital mortuary on Saturday evening with anxious relatives enquiring about the fate of missing passengers, identification of the charred bodies and the time by which the bodies would be handed over to the kin.

People crying inconsolably waited from morning for the bodies of their loved ones. Many relatives and family members were unable to identify the bodies of their kin, many of which were charred beyond recognition. A family member said: “We are not sure whether the bodies are those of our kin. Only a DNA test would confirm their identity.” 

As many as 17 bodies were beyond recognition while nine were identified on the basis of the gold chains, bangles and sacred thread they were wearing. An elderly person told this paper: “My sister and brother-in-law are not to be traced anywhere. They were not among those who escaped and also not found among those undergoing treatment. So they have to be here. Unless we identify the bodies, I cannot say whether they are actually dead. We don’t know.” 

The friends of two executives in private companies said, “ Our colleagues are not be seen anywhere. We don’t know whether they are among the dead. We have to confirm before concluding anything.”

Two other elderly people said they had not seen the bodies of their family members and hence were unsure whether they were among the dead. With uncertainty prevailing over deaths, authorities said bodies could not be released unless relatives saw all bodies and confirmed whether their kin were among the dead or not.

After the bodies were brought to the hospital following post mortem in Andhra Pradesh, the immediate concern was their identification. Hospital authorities said unless bodies were DNA-tested, it would not be possible to release them. They decided that the best option was to conduct DNA tests on all bodies as there wouldn’t be any controversy later.

The exasperation over the turn of events was evident when a  middle-aged person questioned the City Police Commissioner on allowing only VIPs inside the mortuary. “ We have to see the bodies, not them,” the man said even as the commissioner pacified him.

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