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Bodies of Aberdares plane crash victims identified

Irene Githinji @gitshee

All 10 bodies of the victims of the Tuesday plane crash at Njabini in Aberdare Forest  were positively identified Friday. Families of the victims gathered at the Lee Funeral Home in the morning where DNA samples were taken and tested, in a process led by Chief Government Pathologist Johansen Oduor.

FlySax official Mohammed Ahmed said the families underwent counselling as they awaited results of DNA tests and post-mortem.

Dr Oduor conducted the tests in a procedure witnessed by representatives from National Police Service, Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS), Government Chemist, National Disaster Management Unit (NDMU) and Safari Air Express Ltd, which owns the ill-fated FlySax plane.

The bodies will be released to victims relatives for burial. Ahmed said priority was given to the body of a Muslim faithful to allow for immediate burial in line with their religion.

Emotions ran high as families waited for the tests to be completed, with many yet to come to terms with the loss of loved ones.

Bodies of the eight passengers and two crew members were pulled out of the wreckage on Thursday afternoon, with some severely mutilated necessitating DNA tests for identification.Earlier, Nyandarua Governor Francis Kimemia was at the Lee  Funeral Home to condole with the  families.

He urged them to be patient as comprehensive investigations are conducted to establish the cause of the crash.“Investigation and forensic teams have secured the scene to avoid it being tampered with,” said the governor.

He urged the National government to assist counties in strengthening response and rescue mechanisms.“We need to have strong response system across all counties…Nyandarua is a case study,” said Kimemia.

He lauded all response teams for their efforts to recover bodies of the victims, saying they had to go through harsh terrain, wild animals and bad weather in the hard task.

Turkana Deputy County Commissioner, Eric Wafula Wanyonyi, father of a victim, Robinson Wafula, mourned his son as full of life. “We are deeply shocked, overwhelmed by grief. He was a young, hardworking, well schooled, responsible and focused doing business, we are really affected and shocked by this,” he said.

He said he had received the news of the death of his son while on duty in Turkana. He thanked the National and County governments for the assistance they have accorded the affected families.

“They have assisted all this while despite the bad weather to recover the bodies. Investigations on what caused the crash and we are confident that we will get the true picture of what transpired. We have to be patient and hope something good will come out of it,” said Wafula.

The Nairobi-bound Cessna C208 FlySAX from Kitale, flying at 11,000 feet, plunged at Elephant Point in Aberdare Forest on Tuesday evening.

The rescue mission, undertaken by a multi-agency team and more than 300 volunteers from the local community, took more than two days to access the scene of the crash due to rough terrain and hostile weather conditions at the high altitude.

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