Griev­ing fam­i­lies given earth from Ethiopian crash site

Sun.Star Pampanga - - WORLD! -

AD­DIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — Griev­ing fam­ily mem­bers of vic­tims of the Ethiopian air dis­as­ter are be­ing given sacks of earth to bury in place of the re­mains of their loved ones.

Of­fi­cials have be­gun de­liv­er­ing bags of earth to fam­ily mem­bers of the 157 vic­tims of the crash in­stead of the re­mains of their loved ones be­cause the iden­ti­fi­ca­tion process is go­ing to take such a long time.

Fam­i­lies are be­ing given a 1-kilo­gram (2.2-pound) sack of scorched earth taken from the crash sites, mem­bers of two dif­fer­ent fam­i­lies told The As­so­ci­ated Press. They spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity to avoid any pos­si­ble gov­ern­ment reprisal. An Ethiopian gov­ern­ment of­fi­cial who spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity be­cause they were not au­tho­rized to speak to re­porters also con­firmed the de­liv­er­ies of soil.

“The soil came as it be­came im­pos­si­ble to iden­tify bodies and hand over re­mains to fam­ily mem­bers,” one fam­ily mem­ber said. “We will not rest un­til we are given the real body or body parts of our loved ones.”

Foren­sic DNA work has be­gun on iden­ti­fy­ing the re­mains but it may take six months to iden­tify the vic­tims, be­cause the body parts are in small pieces. How­ever, au­thor­i­ties say they will is­sue death cer­tifi­cates within two weeks. The vic­tims of the crash came from 35 coun­tries.

A mass memo­rial ser­vice for the dead is planned in Ad­dis Ababa to take place Sun­day, one week after the crash. Mus­lim fam­i­lies have al­ready held prayers for the dead and are anx­ious to have some­thing to bury as soon as pos­si­ble.

In­ter­pol and Blake Emer­gency Ser­vices, hired by Ethiopian Air­lines, will work with Ethiopian po­lice and health of­fi­cials to iden­tify the bodies, Dag­mawit Mo­ges, Ethiopia’s Min­is­ter of Trans­port said on Satur­day.

“Prepa­ra­tion for the iden­ti­fi­ca­tion process has al­ready started and we will make sure that the post mortem in­ves­ti­ga­tion will start as soon as pos­si­ble,” she said.

The U.S. Na­tional Trans­porta­tion Safety Board has sent about 16 mem­bers to as­sist the in­ves­ti­ga­tion, she said.

In Paris, in­ves­ti­ga­tors started study­ing the cock­pit voice recorder of the crashed Ethiopian Air­lines jet Satur­day, griev­ing fam­ily mem­bers were given sacks of dirt to bury in place of the re­mains of their loved ones.

The French air ac­ci­dent in­ves­ti­ga­tion agency BEA tweeted Satur­day that tech­ni­cal work on the recorder be­gan. The BEA also said work re­sumed on the flight’s data recorders.

The recorders, also known as black boxes, were sent to France be­cause the BEA has ex­ten­sive ex­per­tise in an­a­lyz­ing such de­vices. Ex­perts from the U.S. Na­tional Trans­porta­tion Safety Board and the plane’s man­u­fac­turer Boe­ing are among those in­volved in the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

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