MozambicN plane crush: bodies still being identified in Namibia

The work of identifying the bodies of all those who died in the crash of a Mozambique Airlines (LAM) flight in Namibia on 29 November should be concluded by the end of this month, according to Mozambican Transport Minister Gabriel Muthisse.

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Muthisse said “the process of identifying the bodies is necessarily very slow and delicate. The indication I had when I visited Namibia was that by the end of January, matters would be very advanced”.

He hoped that it would then be possible to announce results of the identification. Should that deadline pass without any announcement, the Mozambican government would request an explanation from the Namibia authorities.

The LAM plane, an Embraer-190 of Brazilian manufacture, crashed in Namibia’s Bwabwata National Park when it was on a scheduled flight from Maputo to Luanda. All 33 people on board the plane lost their lives.

The impact was so violent that all the bodies bar one were torn to pieces, making identification a much more difficult task.

Muthisse said the Mozambican government would not put any pressure on the team of experts dealing with the bodies given the delicacy of the matter.

“This is work that must be done by experts, by scientists and we understand perfectly that, if they are to do their work in a careful and methodical manner, we must not exercise any undue pressure”, he said.

According to reports in the Namibian press, the Namibian National Forensic Science Institute (NFSI), which is in charge of the identification, has so far identified 16 of the 33 bodies.

NFSI director Paul Ludik told a press conference last Friday that the forensic specialists are now dealing with “the fragmentary remains” is order to identify the remaining 17 bodies. He believed the tests were now in their final stage.

He declined to give the nationalities of those identified so far. The Embraer was carrying 16 Mozambicans (including all six crew members), nine Angolans, five Portuguese, a Frenchman and a Chinese citizen.

A spokesperson for the Namibian police, James Tjivikua, said so far the identification has been based largely on fingerprint evidence.

Post published in: Africa News

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