A week after eight international tourists died in a plane crash in the Okavango Delta, Interpol scientists have been engaged to conduct DNA tests on the people who were burnt beyond recognition.
The names of the deceased are still being withheld until tests are completed, which could take some time.
Speaking to the Telegraph, Maun’s Letsholathebe Hospital Superintendent, Dr Maxwell Mungisi, said two Interpol scientists based in France had just arrived in Botswana to conduct the DNA tests, adding that there will be two parallel DNA investigations that will be conducted by both Interpol and Botswana scientists because, he said, some bodies were burnt beyond recognition “it is crucial to conduct DNA”.
“I am not yet sure when both teams will complete their investigations because they have to get the specimens from the victims’ next of kin and that could take some time,” Mungisi said.
He further said the corpses will be released to the next of kin after everything that needs to be done has been completed and the dead will then be repatriated to their countries of origin.
The dead are currently at a private mortuary in Maun because there is a shortage of space at the Letsholathebe Hospital.
On the four survivors, Mungisi said that the two Batswana who were hospitalized at his hospital had already been discharged while one French national was transferred to South Africa and is recovering very well.
The Chief Executive Officer of Moremi Air, Sue Smart, was reluctant to be dragged into the matter, saying that “the matter is under investigation”.
Smart said they had resumed flying after suspending their fleet for two days after the accident.
The fifteen-seater air craft flying nine tourists, one pilot and two attendants crashed on takeoff from Xakanaka to Pongpong in the Delta near Maun.
Of the eight that perished, three, including a 70-year-old pilot, were Britons of ages between 51 and 78, three French females of ages ranging from 51 to 64 and three Swedes, two females and one male, age ranging from 80 to 83 while the four survives in the crash include two Batswana and two French nationals.