India Rail Disaster: More Than 100 Bodies Remain Unclaimed

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Authorities are trying to source iced containers to help preserve bodies as they issue fervent appeals to families to identify the dead.

A man enters a deep freezer truck filled with bodies to try to identify a family member at a hospital in Bhubaneswar in the eastern Indian state of Odisha

Indian authorities have made fervent appeals to families to help identify more than 100 unclaimed bodies kept in hospitals and mortuaries after 275 people were killed in the country’s deadliest rail crash in at least two decades.

The disaster struck on Friday when a passenger train hit a stationary freight train, jumped the tracks, and hit another passenger train, passing in the opposite direction near the district of Balasore in the eastern state of Odisha.

Till Monday evening, about 100 bodies were yet to be identified, a senior state health department official told the Reuters news agency.

Authorities had taken DNA samples from all the dead bodies in hospitals across the state, senior police official Prateek Singh told reporters on Tuesday.

In cases where there are multiple claimants, we have taken DNA samples from family members, and we will preserve the bodies until the DNA matches,” Singh said.

The trains had passengers from several states and officials from seven states – Assam, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh – were in Balasore to help people claim the bodies of family members and take them home, Singh said.

Meanwhile, desperate families ‘scoured’ hospitals and mortuaries in search of their loved ones, but the ‘gruesome’ condition of the corpses made identification a challenge.

At Bhubaneswar’s AIIMS, large television screens displayed pictures of the dead to help desperate families who are scouring hospitals and mortuaries for friends and relatives.

A detailed list was made of distinguishing features for each body, but relatives could first view photographs, however gruesome, to identify missing loved ones, a senior police official said. Reports said

 

 

 

 

Aljazeera/Shakirat Sadiq

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