Saturday, March 17, 2018

Families have to wait more for bodies

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Families of those killed in the US-Bangla plane crash will have to wait for more days to receive the bodies, says the Dhaka envoy in Kathmandu.

Ambassador Mashfee Binte Shams spoke to the media in the Nepalese capital on Wednesday after emerging from a hospital, where several of the crash victims are being treated.

“The forensics department will take four more days to finish the autopsies. Then they will confirm the identities by matching information provided by the victims’ relatives. It may take one or two more days to take back the bodies,” she said.

The confirmation of identity, which will require matching DNA samples, will take three weeks, according to Shams.

The US-Bangla aircraft veered off its course and crashed short of the runway at Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan International Airport on Monday, with 71 people on board.

Ambassador Mashfee Binte Shams Ambassador Mashfee Binte Shams In shocking scenes, the plane broke apart and burst into flames.
The Bangladesh Embassy on Tuesday confirmed 49 deaths. It said the dead include 26 Bangladesh nationals, including the four crew members.

Nepalese media, later in the day, reported that the death toll rose to 51, which includes 28 Bangladeshis.

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Ambassador Shams, however, evaded a direct answer to queries over the toll and said that autopsies on 18 bodies have so far been completed.

The foreign offices of the two countries have opened talks on the process of repatriating the bodies, according to her.

“Officials of the embassy and the foreign ministry are always at the hospitals. The embassy has also opened a coordination centre,” Shams said on allegations by the victims’ relatives that Dhaka officials were not cooperating.

US-Bangla Airlines spokesperson Kamrul Islam told the media in Dhaka that they were ready to transport back the bodies to Dhaka as soon as the governments of Bangladesh and Nepal give the clearance.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who was on an official visit to Singapore, cut short her trip and rushed back home to Dhaka on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, Hasina convened an emergency meeting, where it has been decided that the nation will pass a mourning day on Thursday for the victims.

Principal Secretary to the PM Nojibur Rahman told the media that the priority is the treatment of survivors and bringing back the bodies as soon as possible.

A team Bangladesh doctors, specialised in burn injuries, has been kept ready to fly to Kathmandu, said the PMO official adding a police team will also fly out to collect DNA samples from the dead.

“If the survivors want, the government will bring back them to treat here at the burns unit in Bangladesh as it offers quality medical care,” said Rahman.

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