Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Bodies of plane crash tourists repatriated

After spending almost two months in a mortuary for DNA analysis, the bodies of international tourists who died when a plane crashed in the Okavango Delta in Maun were last week repatriated to their countries of origin.

Meanwhile, foreign embassies are accusing the Botswana government of secrecy over the accident as the government is reluctant to release the names of the deceased who perished in the plane crash.

Information passed to Sunday Standard suggests that some embassies have lodged complaints with the Botswana government over the secrecy regarding the plane crash investigations.

It is understood that the families of the deceased want the government to conduct an inquest to determine whether there was negligence or it was just a pure accident.

Families of the deceased are said to be considering taking legal action against Moremi Air.

“We have completed our medical examinations on all the deceased who were involved in the plane crash,” the hospital superintendent, Dr Maxwell Mungisi, told the Sunday Standard.

He said although the bodies were burnt beyond recognition, they managed to identify all the bodies and to match body parts.
“All the bodies have now been given to their relatives and have been repatriated to their respective countries,” he said.

Mungisi confirmed that two Interpol scientists from France were called in to support in conducting the DNA tests.

“The Interpol personnel really assisted us a lot; they left for France last week,” said Mungisi.

The doctor pointed out that time had come for Maun to be allocated a pathologist as the area is now big and needs the services of a pathologist stationed in Maun.

He said that they have all the equipment that is needed when such accidents occur and his hospital is always alert to any disaster.
The Minister of Transport and Communications, Nonofo Molefi, did not want to be drawn into the matter.

“The matter is under discussion,” is all he said.

It was not clear whether or not the ministry was discussing to release the names of the deceased.

Meanwhile, British High Commission is the only one that has so far released the names of its nationals that died in the crash.
Press and Public Affairs Officer at the British High Commission, Kebatshabile Tsie, confirmed that the two British nationals that were involved in the crash, Stuart Whitehurst and Martin Gresswell, had already been handed over to their relatives for burial.
Whitehurst was the first deceased to be handed over to his family a few weeks ago.

Of the eight that perished, three, including a 70-year-old pilot, were Britons aged between 51 and 78 years; three French females of aged between 51 and 64 and three Swiss, two females and one male, ages ranging from 80 to 83, while the four survivors in the crash included two Batswana and two French nationals.

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