DNA testing begins to identify Lion Air crash victims
Ivany Atina Arbi and Riska Rahman
The Jakarta Post
The police have begun DNA testing to identify victims of Lion Air flight JT610, which crashed into the Java Sea on Monday morning, and had gathered DNA samples from 152 relatives at Bhayangkara Police Hospital in Kramat Jati, East Jakarta.
National Police deputy chief Comr. Gen. Ari Dono Sukamto said that at least 15 forensic doctors and DNA experts were working to identify the body parts that the National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas) had recovered from the Java Sea.
“Joint personnel have so far collected 24 body bags, [some] containing parts of the victims' bodies – not intact bodies,” Ari told a press conference on Tuesday.
Basarnas head M. Syaugi stated that 10 body bags contained body parts, and that the remaining 14 bags contained debris from the plane and personal items presumed to belong to the crash victims.
Grief is palpable at the hospital facility as families cry silently while holding diplomas, family identity cards and other documents that might help in identifying the victims.
Air traffic control Soekarno-Hatta International Airport lost contact with the plane shortly after it took off at 6:20 a.m. on Monday. The plane was scheduled to arrive at 7:20 a.m. at Depati Amir Airport in Pangkalpinang, Bangka Belitung Islands.
The plane carried 189 people on board, comprising 178 adult passengers, three minors, two pilots and six cabin crew.
Separately, West Java Police chief Insp. Gen. Agung Budi Maryoto called on local residents to assist authorities in the search-and-rescue (SAR) operation to locate crew and passengers of the downed aircraft.
"I ask residents and fishermen to join a beach patrol along the coastline, because the waves come in this direction [to Pakisjaya Beach]," Agung said as quoted by Antara news agency.
Those who discover plane debris or the bodies of victims should report immediately to the joint team on standby at a post on Pakisjaya Beach, Agung advised, adding that the information would be passed on to the SAR command post at Tanjung Priok Port in North Jakarta. (afr)
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