Slow ID in November 2013 LAM Crash

Friday, January 24, 2014
By George Hatcher

Identification of the remains of those aboard the LAM Embraer-190 that crashed en route from Maputo to Luanda is moving at a snails pace. Sixteen of the 33 fatalities have been identified, mostly, according to police reports, by fingerprint evidence.

The scientists who are making the identification are working with fragments.

I am not a scientist, and it does not appear that the scientists in this case are using DNA identification. But I did uncover an article here where a forensic scientist explicitly lists the time it takes for DNA identification. This reference might prove useful in providing some kind of framework to the families who are waiting for remains of their recently lost family members to be identified if the Mozambique investigation turns to DNA identification. The families have been waiting since the date of the crash, 29 November 2013.

The cockpit voice recorder (CVR) and the flight data recorder (FDR), were recovered from the crash site within four days of the crash. But the preliminary report only says:

NTSB Identification: DCA14RA018
Accident occurred Saturday, November 30, 2013 in Rundu, Namibia
Aircraft: EMBRAER ERJ190 – UNDESIGNAT, registration:
Injuries: 33 Fatal.
This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. The foreign authority was the source of this information.

The Namibia Ministry of Works and Transport (MWT) has notified the NTSB of an accident involving an Embraer ERJ-190 that occurred on November 30, 2013. The NTSB has appointed a U.S. Accredited Representative to assist the MWT investigation under the provisions of ICAO Annex 13 as the State of Manufacturer and Design of the engines.

All investigative information will be released by the MWT.

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