Staff Correspondent

The identity of 22 bodies is yet to be established

DNA of the victims and the claimants will be matched to determine identity

MANGALORE: A team from the Centre for DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics (CDFD) at Hyderabad, which arrived in Mangalore following Saturday's Air India air crash, flew back to Hyderabad late on Sunday, in a chartered flight, carrying with them tissue samples of 22 persons who lost their lives in the crash.

The identity of the 22 bodies is yet to be established said city Police Commissioner Seemanth Kumar Singh at a pres conference held here on Monday.

According to district health officials, tissue was collected from the upper ‘incisor' tooth of the deceased. The health officials said that the collection of tooth tissue is standard procedure in DNA identification exercises where the body is charred beyond recognition. This tissue is most likely to retain its characteristics and provide reliable DNA data in the event of burns.

Correspondingly, blood samples have been collected from all those who are claiming the bodies. The DNA of the deceased and the claimants will be matched to establish the identities of the bodies.

Air India Chairman and Managing Director Arvind Jadav said that a total of 80 tissue and blood samples have been collected. Two tissue samples from each body and 36 blood samples from the claimants have been collected, he said.

Results in a week

According to District Health Officer H. Jagannath, this process usually takes around 15 days but the CDFD team has been made aware of the urgency of this case. “We hope to receive results in a week's time,” he told The Hindu. Nevertheless, the wait for the DNA test results will be a harrowing experience for the grieving families.

The 22 unidentified bodies have been stored in mortuaries at various hospitals in the city. The Colaco Hospital at Bendoorwell has four bodies, Father Muller's Hospital at Kankanady has four, KMC Hospital at Attavara has three, City Hospital at Kadri Mallikatta has two, Tejaswini Hospital at Kadri Mallikatte has two, SCS Hospital on Balmatta Road has two and KSHEMA Hospital at Deralakatte has five bodies.

Mr. Singh said that so far post-mortem inquests have been conducted on 136 bodies. These bodies have been identified and handed over to the families.