News / National
2 weeks to identify bus accident victims
08 Apr 2017 at 11:08hrs | Views
EXPERTS from the National University of Science and Technology (Nust) Applied Genetic Testing Centre (AGTC), which does DNA profiling, have said it will take about two weeks to identify the bodies of accident victims that were burnt beyond recognition in the Mvuma fatal road crash.
The team yesterday revealed that 21 people, not 20 as earlier reported, were burnt when a South Africa-bound Proliner bus they were travelling in sideswiped with a haulage truck and caught fire at Nyamatikiti River near Chaka in Mvuma on Wednesday night.
AGTC chairperson Mr Zephaniah Dhlamini said his team and pathologists from Harare's Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals have started their investigations to identify the bodies.
"Today we have started the process to identify the bodies. All of them were burnt beyond recognition, some were cut into pieces. The pathologist will determine whether the body was male or female. In the DNA section, we will take samples of the bones," said Mr Dhlamini.
"We are going to extract the DNA from the lab and get DNA samples from relatives then we'll look for matches. We hope that in two weeks we will be done with the matching process."
He said such tragedies should serve as a wake-up call to Government to prioritise DNA profiling.
Mr Dhlamini said legislators should consider DNA profiling for every citizen as this will expedite the identification process in case of other disasters.
"The Registrar General's Office should have a DNA database for citizens. When such disasters occur, we can just pick the body and match it with the information on the database," he said.
In a statement, Civil Protection Unit (CPU) acting director Ms Sibusisiwe Ndlovu said the victims would receive State assisted burials and $700 courtesy of Government and the Insurance Council of Zimbabwe (ICZ).
Ms Ndlovu said the Government released $200 for each body while ICZ chipped in with $500.
She said ICZ was still investigating the passenger insurance to ensure that proper compensations is given to affected families.
Meanwhile, National chief police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba has called on relatives of the victims to bring a toothbrush which was used by their deceased relative for DNA testing.
While applauding relatives who have already camped at Gweru Provincial Hospital awaiting the identification process, she encouraged those that haven't made their way to quickly come to Gweru to speed up the process.
At the accident scene, smoke was still billowing from the trailers of the haulage truck which is believed to have been carrying hundreds of tyres. The road had been cleared and traffic was flowing smoothly.
Forensic experts were still looking for human remains in the rubble that had been swept off the highway.
At Mvuma District Hospital, only three accident victims were still admitted including the driver of the haulage truck Regius Mangwari (29) who is under police guard.
The other survivors are Mrs Alice Hodzi (29) of Eastview Park in Mabvuku, Harare, who escaped together with her 11-month-old daughter, Princess Matoro.
Hospital authorities said other victims had been taken by their relatives to medical institutions close to their home areas.
At Gweru Provincial Hospital — three tents — one manned by ZRP, one by medical experts and the others set for relatives and friends provided by Unki Mine, had been set up.
Twenty one passengers were burnt beyond recognition while 41 were critically injured in the horrific accident that occurred at the 218km peg along the Harare-Masvingo Beitbridge highway at around 9PM.
Mangwari, who was driving to Harare, has been charged with 21 counts of culpable homicide.
Source - chronicle