3 December 2013

Mozambique: No Date Yet for Transfer of Air Crash Victims' Remains

Photo: Embraer
A Mozambique Airlines aircraft of the type that crashed (file photo).

Maputo — Mozambique Airlines (LAM) does not yet have a firm date for the transfer back to Maputo of the bodies of those who died when the LAM flight from Maputo to Luanda last Friday crashed in northern Namibia.

This was the first fatal accident in LAM's history. All 27 passengers and six crew members on board the plane, an Embraer-190, of Brazilian manufacture, lost their lives.

The latest press release from LAM says that it has sent a team to the Namibian capital. Windhoek, to work with the company Kenyon International to establish the protocols, procedures and logistics required to identify and transfer the bodies.

Kenyon International is a crisis and disaster management company, with more than 100 years of experience, in dealing with accidents, particularly those that involve loss of life.

“We do not yet know when the remains and the belongings of the victims will be released for delivery to their families”, said the LAM statement. “That will depend on identification and tests. We believe this will be done as quickly as possible”.

From the initial footage of the crash site, it was clear that some of the bodies were severely burned, and it may require DNA testing to identify them.

Out of respect for the victims, LAM has changed the number of its Maputo-Luanda flight. This used to be TM470, but it has now been renumbered TM500.

The company assures its passengers that this change does not affect the timetable of the flights.

LAM also urges journalists not to speculate about the causes of the crash. “Aviation accidents are complex and they require patience, specialist knowledge in various areas, and special attention to every detail in order to discover what happened and why”, says the statement. “Speculation on possible causes does not help and might even prejudice or influence the investigation”.

LAM says it remain focused “on addressing the immediate needs of the victims' families. Our Family Assistance teams in Maputo and Luanda are continuing to update the families and loved ones on the status of the recovery operation”.

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