Families and friends of Ethiopian plane crash victims must accept the fact that identification of bodies is going to be a nightmare for forensic experts given that there was no body retrieved from the crash scene.
The plane is said to have tried to climb but failed and came falling in a nose dive manner , hitting the ground at lighting speed and digging a 10m deep crater before exploding as its tanks were full of jet fuel.
Forensic experts have collected over 5,000 tiny pieces of human remains left from the deadly crash last Sunday. Most are just fragments the size of a small finger to small bones. The biggest part is understood to be an arm.
Ethiopian officials said DNA results would be announced between five to six months from the date the sample is collected. This means they will have to wait until August to know the findings.
DNA samples are being collected at Skylight Hotel in Addis Ababa. Those who cannot make it to Ethiopia have been asked to visit any point of origin through the Ethiopian Airlines Group (ETG) international offices closest to them.
Personal belongings of the deceased will also be returned to the next of kin after proper verification within two months.
Some of the things found apart from pieces from the plane wreckage include torn passports, mobile phones and national identification documents. There were also some computer accessories including a keyboard belonging to one of the victims and papers believed to have been separated from a book by the impact.
There were also business cards, in many languages, pieces of shredded clothing and a host of personal care items.
A look at the crash site near Bishoftu, south of Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, suggests that the plane could have come down at a near vertical trajectory and slammed into the ground causing a deep crater just six minutes after take off.
“Families can take soil from the crash site and a letter will be issued from the Ethiopian Airlines attesting the same for custom’s clearance at the airport,” an advisory note issued by the airline to the families of the victims seen by the Sunday Nation reads in part.
The airline also said it will give refunds for incidental payments to cover out of pocket expenses incurred by relatives of the victims. The payments will be done through bank transfers or at the destination convenient to families.
“We are going to get urns around here and package the soil we picked from the crash scene. After this we have no other business but go home and do a burial,” Nzioka said. His nephew, Bernard Musembi died in the crash.
He said the family plans to conduct a mock burial next Saturday in Mwala, Kabaa.
Meanwhile, new piece of evidence has been found that shows the similarities of the Ethiopian Airlines crash and that of the Lion Air flight that fell in October last year.
The device known as the jackscrew found in the wreckage suggests that the pilot may have had a problem with a new flight control system.
The jackscrew indicates the jet was configured to dive and this is what may have caused the accident last week. Reports indicate that in the last moments, Captain Yared Getachew reported in a calm voice that he was having a flight control problem. He then asked to be cleared to return. This time his voice was panicky.
According to the New York Times, a source who had reviewed the communications from flight 302, said the pilot told controllers: “Break, break, request back to home.”
He was allowed to return but this never happened.
Other theories being pursued include a malfunctioning of the software that made the pilot unable to control the plane.
In France, aviation investigators began working on Friday after receiving the heavily damaged data voice recorders as they attempt to figure out what went wrong. Their task will be to reconstruct the six-minute flight from Bole Airport before the plunge.