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Interpol says remains of victims of Ethiopian Airlines crash successfully identified

Ethiopian Federal policemen stand at the scene of the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash, near the town of Bishoftu, southeast of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on March 11, 2019. PHOTO | REUTERS

Six months after the Ethiopian Airlines crash that killed 157 people, families of victims of the crash may have closure after the International Criminal Police Organization on Thursday said it had helped identify all human remains.

In a statement, Interpol, said it had collected DNA materials and fingerprints from the families of the victims to aid in the identification process.

“In the wake of such a tragedy, the accurate identification of the victims is of immense importance to the families who are suffering from their loss,” Interpol’s Secretary General Jürgen Stock said.

“Mobilizing its global network of National Central Bureaus, INTERPOL centralized the collection of DNA materials from the families of the victims to aid in the identification process. The DNA samples were sent to a specialized laboratory for analysis,” the agency noted.

The ET302 plane destined for Nairobi crashed at a farm in Bishoftu—about 44 kilometers southeast of the capital Addis Ababa—just six minutes after taking off from Bole International Airport.

An anti-stalling system—Manoeuvring Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS)—on the Boeing 737 Max had been blamed for the crash.

Passengers of 35 nationalities and United Nations staff died in the March 10 air disaster.

The international police organisation added that the identification process involved 100 experts from 14 countries in Africa, the Americas and Europe.

“International cooperation and coordination is vital to these efforts, and this is where Interpol’s extensive experience in DVI (Disaster Victim Identification) provides significant added value to member countries when faced with a major disaster.”

Interpol Incident Response Team (IRT) was contracted by the Ethiopian government two days after the accident.

The Match 10 crash was strikingly similar to a Lion Air-operated Flight 610 that crashed into the Java Sea just 12 minutes after takeoff from Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Jakarta on October 29, 2018, killing all the 189 people on board.

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