Pakistan plane crash: 58 bodies identified, DNA tests on others

July 29th, 2010 - 3:15 pm ICT by IANS  

Islamabad, July 29 (IANS) Only 58 bodies of the 152 killed when an Airbus A-321 crashed in the Margalla Hills near this Pakistani capital have been identified, officials said Thursday, adding that DNA tests would be carried out on the others.
The bodies that could be identified have been handed over to family members, Geo News reported Thursday, when Pakistan observed a day of mourning for those killed in the country’s worst aviation disaster.

The Airblue aircraft carrying 152 people crashed amid heavy rain near here Wednesday morning. The plane, flying from Karachi to Islamabad, suddenly lost contact with the airport and crashed near the popular Damanekoh resort in the Margalla Hills.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik said the body parts beyond recognition were going to be DNA tested Thursday.

An official said the DNA test process would take about a week to complete and thereafter the bodies would be handed to the families.

Family members of the dead passengers were inconsolable. Relatives broke down when they were handed over the bodies of their loved ones.

The wait was particularly agonising for those who were not able to identify their near and dear ones.

Rescuers, who faced difficulty in the inaccessible terrain, managed to collect bodies and body parts that were taken to the PIMS Hospital.

PIMS Hospital officials said a team of 50 doctors had been constituted to identify the bodies.

Another official said the wreckage of the plane was scattered in the hilly area and they were looking for the black box.

It has been raining intermittently in Islamabad, hampering search efforts.

“Rescue teams will resume the search operation as soon as it stops raining as we still have to find the black box,” The News International quoted Bani Amin, a police official, as saying.

“Our main concern is to find identification papers and other belongings of the passengers, which will greatly help identify the bodies lying in the hospitals. We may also find some body pieces during the search but it all depends how quickly it stops raining,” he said.

Airblue, a private airline, has been operating since 2004, using new Airbus A-320 and A-321 aircraft on domestic routes and international services to Dubai, Sharjah, Abu Dhabi, Muscat and Manchester.

In 1992, a PIA Airbus crashed into a cloud-covered hillside on approach to Kathmandu, killing 167 people.

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