Grieving relatives try to identify bodies

Grieving relatives try to identify bodies

The scene at the Wenlock Hospital was mind-numbing. While the shock of the loss having worn off, the magnitude of the tragedy was finally sinking into the near and dear ones of the dead in one of India’s worst air crashes.

The tears had not stopped, but the formalities had to be gone through before they could collect the mortal remains of their dear ones. They had to go through the horrific ritual of seeing the charred bodies and trying to identify their relatives from among them.

Hundreds of the family members of the dead stalked out the hospital. Many had visited all other hospitals for identifying the remains and had now come to Wenlock as ambulances began driving into the hospital for the identification ritual.

Some of the family members were crying. Others were in silent prayer, with eyes closed. Many were lost in their world, reminiscing of the times with the departed, and contemplating on the staggering challenge of coping without them.

A forensic team led by Dr Madhusudan Reddy arrived from Hyderabad to conduct DNA tests to identify bodies charred beyond recognition on Sunday. The number of bodies to be identified with DNA tests is still not clear.

DNA test

Overcome by desperation, distraught relatives of victims of the crash were seen  putting pressure on authorities to expedite DNA tests to identify bodies, which doctors say might take a long time. The officials were seen taking photographs of the victim’s relatives for the DNA test.

Speaking to Deccan Herald, the friend of a victim said: “We want the DNA process to begin immediately so that we can be free of the agony. Don’t we have any system wherein DNA test result can be received within two days?”  

District Health Officer Dr Jagannath said: “DNA final report is likely to come within 15 days. For the DNA test, 1.5 ml blood from the victim’s mother or father or children or brother or sister will be taken. In case, if mother or father or children or brother or sister are not there, then cousin’s blood will be taken. From the body of the deceased, liver piece or molar teeth or femur bone or a piece of muscle will be taken. The experts will take all the needed materials for DNA test to Hyderabad. ”

DNA experts from Hyderabad have assured that the process would be expedited.
To a query on unidentified bodies, he said “we have already contacted KMC, Manipal for Cold chain. In Dakshina Kannada, there are 57 cold chain where bodies can be kept.” Air India representatives have made arrangements to provide free coffins to family members to shift the bodies after identification.

Union Labour Minister M Mallikarjuna Kharge, Union Minister for Overseas Affairs Vayalar Ravi, Minister of State for Railways E Ahammed, Kerala former Chief Minister M Oommen Chandy, former minister Oscar Fernandes, Leaders of the Opposition in the legislature  S Siddaramaiah and Motamma and Kerala PCC President Ramesh Chennithala visited Wenlock Hospital.

Co-pilot’s body taken to Mumbai

The body of the co-pilot of the ill-fated aeroplane Air India Express IX-812 S S Ahluwalia (42) was handed over to his relatives after post mortem on Sunday.

Ahluwalia, who was flying Air India Express since January 2010, was staying in Kadri along with his friend Sandeep.  Sources said that his body will be taken to Mumbai in a an Air India flight.

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