Get Adobe Flash player

Daily Archives: August 26, 2008

Some victims of Spain air crash may never be identified

Some of the 154 people who died in last week's Spanair jet crash, Spain's worst air disaster in nearly 25 years, may never be identified, Interior Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba said yesterday.
"Will anybody remain unidentified? I can't say at this moment but the possibility exists," he said during an interview with news radio Cadena Ser.
Eighty-six bodies have so far been identified and the task should be completed using DNA techniques for the remainder over the coming days, he added.
"We are working day and night, and well, but since the process started it has become more difficult than we expected due to the bad state of some of the DNA samples," said Rubalcaba.
"If the sample can be matched to someone close like a brother or father it is easy but when there are only distant family members available it becomes much more complicated," he added.
Only 19 people survived Wednesday's crash shortly after a Spanair MD-82 plane took off from Madrid for the Canary Islands.
The death toll rose to 154 on Saturday after a woman who initially survived despite suffering burns to 72 percent of her body died in a hospital.
Rubalcaba reiterated that the government was taking great care to make sure that the bodies are properly identified.
The issue is a sensitive one in Spain because the bodies of 62 peacekeeping troops who died in an air crash in 2003 were improperly identified and many families buried the wrong bodies as a result.
The troops, returning from duty in Afghanistan, died May 26, 2003 in a crash near Trabzon, Turkey, aboard a Ukranian-chartered, Russian-made Yakolev-42 plane.
The misidentification of the bodies was a major embarrassment for the conservative government in power at the time.
Rubalcaba had previously said that most bodies would be identified by the end of Sunday.


Second Zimbabwean opposition MP arrested, says opposition

A second Zimbabwean lawmaker was arrested yesterday in what the opposition said was a bid to reverse the party's unprecedented majority ahead of a parliamentary vote to elect a new speaker.
"Another one of our members of parliament Eliah Jembere has been arrested at parliament," Nelson Chamisam spokesman for the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) of opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, said.
"It's clearly a strategy to eliminate our members and reverse our majority in parliament."
Earlier Chamisa said another lawmaker, Shuah Mudiwa, was arrested from parliament, saying he was "literally pulled" out from the building.
"We have been informed they want to arrest 15 MPs. It's all about the vote for the speaker. Nothing to do with the law," he said.
Parliamentary and presidential elections were held in March, setting off months of political unrest after Tsvangirai claimed that veteran leader Robert Mugabe had fixed the presidential result and intimidated his supporters.
Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party suffered a historic reverse when it won only 97 parliamentary seats. The MDC took 100, while a splinter party formed and led by former MDC politician Arthur Mutambara got 10.