AMSTERDAM – Dutch police on Saturday sent teams to visit relatives of those killed in the Malaysia Airlines crash in Ukraine to collect DNA and other data to help identify the dead.
"We sent out 80 investigators this morning, working in pairs, to visit 40 addresses," national police forensics spokesman Ad Kraszewski told AFP. Over the next few days, police will visit relatives of the 192 Dutch nationals killed in Thursday's crash over a rebel-held area of Ukraine. A total of 298 people died in the disaster.
The police teams will serve as a contact point for relatives to ask questions about the long identification process and provide updates "until a body is back in the Netherlands and handed over to the family", Kraszewski said. "They have also started collecting information about the missing, for instance simple things such as height or hair colour, but also distinguishing marks such as scars from operations or tattoos, what they're of and where they are," he added.
There are three internationally accepted fail-safe ways of identifying a body, he said: fingerprints, dental records and DNA. "The DNA data could come from blood samples or from hair on a brush in the bathroom," Kraszewski said. Eight police forensics experts are already in Ukraine to discuss with the local authorities how the identification process will work, including who will compile and compare the data that comes from the bodies.
"If the data collected in the Netherlands and Ukraine matches then that's an identification, if it's 100 percent then the body can come back to the Netherlands," Kraszewski said.