MH17 Crash: Malaysia collects DNA samples to identify victims

Experts at Flight MH17 crash site. PTI
Experts at Flight MH17 crash site. PTI

Kuala Lumpur, Jul 23 (PTI): A Dutch team has begun screening and tagging the bodies recovered from the Malaysia Airlines crash site in Ukraine while authorities here have started collecting DNA samples from the relative of the victims from the country.

Dutch Disaster Victim Identification (DVI) team is working along with the Malaysian crime investigation team and the Special Malaysian Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team (SMART) to screen the bodies recovered from the crash site controlled by pro-Russia rebels.

Malaysia’s Health director-general Noor Hisham Abdullah said the Ministry’s Forensic department head Mohd Shah Mahmood had accompanied the bodies to Amsterdam.

Health Ministry here also began collecting DNA blood samples and inner cheek swabs of parents, siblings and children of those who died in the MH17 crash.

Noor Hisham said the samples would be matched with the DNAs of the deceased.

Asked if the DNA samples had to be used quickly, he said, “There is no limited time for use as long as the integrity of the post-mortem material is preserved.”

According to the Disaster Victim Identification guide, primary sources of identification process include finger printing, forensic dental analysis and DNA analysis while secondary sources include medical reports such as previous surgery scars, personal identification such as tattoos, rings and necklaces.

Finger printing would be used only if skin is still intact and printable and these would be checked against passports, documents from the National Registration Department or other databases.

Flight MH17, with 283 passengers and 15 crew members on board, was en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur when it crashed in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine last Thursday.

Meanwhile, the US and the Netherlands called for a full and transparent international investigations into downing of the plane. US President Barack Obama spoke with Prime Minister Mark Rutte of the Netherlands.

Both agreed the EU and United States must remain united with regard to events in Ukraine and that Russia will face increasing costs if it continues its support for violent separatists and fails to cease its efforts to destabilise Ukraine.


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