Riau air crash: 5 victims identified after DNA tests

Authorities say the rescue operations are expected to end on Monday.

Riau air crash: Forensic experts identify 5 victims with DNA tests
Representational Image Reuters

Forensic experts have identified five of the 13 people who were killed when an Indonesian plane that crashed in the Riau Islands early this month. The rescue operations are expected to end on Monday.

S. Erlangga, the provincial police spokesman, said body parts have been recovered from the waters near the crash site off Pulau Senayang. "The body parts were scattered in various places. A few had drifted as far as 5km due to the strong currents," Erlangga told The Straits Times. He said the rescuers had also retrieved a headless body and a leg on Saturday.

"Since the bodies were no longer intact, DNA tests were carried out and the police forensic team have positively identified five victims. They will be handed over to their families later after search and rescue ends," the spokesman added.

According to Erlangga, the search and rescue team included 16 vessels, two helicopters, one aircraft and 151 personnel to locate the survivors and recover the wreckage.

On the other hand, the joint task force comprised the country's search-and- rescue agency Basarnas, coast guard and navy. The Rescue Coordination Centre (RCC), which is managed by the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore, was also included in the force.

On Dec 3, M-28 Skytruck, a Polish-made aircraft, lost contact with the air traffic control at 11.22 am Singapore time while it was travelling from Pangkal Pinang, Bangka Belitung province to Batam in the Riau Islands province in western Indonesia.

This was the latest incident of a plane going missing in a series of flight disasters in Indonesia recently. The country has a poor aviation safety record and crashes involving commercial as well as military and police aircraft are not unusual.