Relatives of Nepal plane crash victims decry slow autopsy

Families have waited four days for the authorities to conduct autopsies and release loved ones’ bodies for last rites.

Grieving relatives of the Nepal plane crash victims are growing impatient as they wait for the authorities to conduct autopsies and give them their loved ones’ bodies for burial or cremation.

The Yeti Airlines flight with 72 on board plummeted into a gorge on Sunday while on approach to the newly opened Pokhara International Airport in the foothills of the Himalayas. There were no survivors.

“It has been four days, but no one is listening to us,” a heartbroken Madan Kumar Jaiswal said on Wednesday as he waited outside the Tribhuvan University Institute of Medicine in the capital Kathmandu.

He said he wanted the postmortem to be done quickly so the families can receive the bodies of their loved ones.

“They are saying that they will do a DNA test. My daughter is dead,” said Ashok Rayamagi, father of another victim.

Nepal plane crash
Relatives and friends perform the last rites for the plane crash victims in Pokhara, Nepal [Yunish Gurung/AP]

Authorities did not comment on the autopsies on Wednesday but several of the bodies were reported to be badly burned.

Identifying bodies and accounting for all 72 people has been difficult because of the state of the remains, said Ajay K C, a police official at the rescue site.

“Until the hospital tests show all 72 bodies, we’ll continue to search for the last person,” Ajay said.

Nepal plane crash
Buddhist monks pray for the victims at the crash site in Pokhara [Yunish Gurung/AP]

Search teams found 68 bodies on the day of the crash, and two more were recovered on Monday before the search was called off. One more body had been recovered as of late Tuesday afternoon, officials said.

The search for the only remaining missing person resumed on Wednesday with the help of divers and drones, police said.

“There is no possibility of finding any survivor. We have collected 71 bodies so far. The search for the last one will continue,” Tek Bahadur K C, a top district official in Pokhara, said on Wednesday.

Workers had shut down a dam on the Seti River to help them look for the body in the 300-metre-deep (984-foot-deep) ravine. They diverted the flow of the river to look for bodies, said Gurudutt Ghimire, another official who is part of search operations.

“There is nothing left there. But the search will continue,” Ghimire said.

Nepal plane crash
A French investigator takes a photo of the wreckage at the plane crash site in Pokhara [Yunish Gurung/AP]

Some aviation experts said footage from the ground of the plane’s last moments indicated the aircraft went into a stall, although it is unclear why.

A team of experts from the French manufacturer of the ATR aircraft visited the crash site in Pokhara, the gateway to popular hiking tracks in the Himalayas.

On Monday, searchers found the cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder from the flight, both in good condition, a discovery that is likely to help investigators determine what caused the crash.

Since Nepal does not have facilities to read the so-called “black boxes”, the devices will be sent wherever the French manufacturer recommends.

The Cologne-based European Union Aviation Safety Agency also said it was taking part in the investigation alongside the French air accident investigations agency BEA, EASA spokeswoman Janet Northcote said.

Source: News Agencies