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Desperate relatives seek DNA identification

india Updated: May 23, 2010 14:03 IST

Overcome by desperation, distraught relatives of victims of Air India Express air crash in Mangalore are putting pressure on authorities to expedite DNA tests to identify bodies, which doctors say might take a long time.

Father of Mohamed Ali, a cabin crew member, said he had asked authorities to expedite the DNA process, which official sources said would begin only later in the day giving further time for identification of charred bodies.

"We want the DNA process to begin immediately so that we can be free of the unbearable agony," said Ali's father who flew to Mangalore from Bhopal by a flight arranged by Indian Airlines.

The parent of another victim expressed anguish over the 'long delay' in identification of dead bodies through DNA tests.

In one case, two families from Kerala have claimed the same body, but it will be handed over only after DNA test, officials said.

Senior doctors at the Government Wenlock Hospital said it will normally take 10 to 15 days for a DNA test, but in the present case, DNA experts from Hyderabad have assured that the process will be expedited.

The DNA expert team, led by Dr Madhusudan Reddy, arrived in Mangalore from Hyderabad this morning.

As authorities told families that the process will take long, a close relative of a victim Mohamed Aslam wondered why a country like India does not have a mobile testing unit to address calamities of greater magnitude. "The government should address the issue with all seriousness," he said.

More family members of victims have started pouring into the Government Wenlock Hospital, hospital sources here said.

Of 166 killed in the crash, around 55 are from adjoining Kasaragod and Kannur districts in Kerala.

An Air India representative in Mangalore said that the carrier had made arrangements to provide free coffins to family members to shift the bodies after identification.