With the bodies of the July 23 Kullu bus accident victims now being retrieved from the Parvati river too decayed to be recognised, the Kullu district administration in Himachal Pradesh will preserve the DNA from these to avoid identification issues later.
The DNA samples from three bodies fished on Tuesday have been collected. The bodies of a woman and two men extracted on Wednesday could not be identified. “Knowing what would be the condition of the bodies that have remained under water for so long, we decided three-four days ago to preserve the DNA from the bodies to be retrieved from now,” said Kullu subdivisional magistrate (SDM) Rohit Rathore.
“The families that claimed the bodies retrieved on Tuesday had identified the victims from their clothes and other belongings; but we have kept the DNA samples as well to avoid controversy later as we find more victims. The DNA samples will be sent to the forensic laboratory at Junga in Shimla district,” said the SDM.
Identification issues had cropped up in June last year when 24 students from Hyderabad were swept away in the Beas river near Thalot in Mandi district. On July 23, a private bus carrying pilgrims from Bathinda, Barnala and Mansa districts of Punjab had fallen into a swollen Parvati river on the Bhuntar-Manikaran road. So far, 20 bodies have been retrieved, while 26 victims are still missing. In the accident, 23 passengers were injured.
National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB), and Himachal Pradesh Police continue to search for bodies and possible survivors.