Over the weekend, the Gauteng Forensic Pathology Service (FPS) managed to identify 18 more of the 62 unidentifiable victims of the fire incident in Johannesburg.
The Department of Health in Gauteng says fingerprints of some of the deceased could be processed through a digital fingerprint system to identify 11 more people. After autopsies were completed and the bodies of the deceased were cared for, further examinations of the bodies were carried out and an additional seven bodies could be identified by families – through various characteristics such as tattoos and other body marks.
“This means another 18 bodies have been identified, bringing the number of identifiable bodies to 30. A total of 44 bodies have still not been identified,” says Motalatale Modiba, spokesperson for the department.
So far, 76 families have already arrived at the Diepkloof forensic pathology service (FOD) mortuary in Soweto to report the loss of their loved ones, after which a list of 74 names – of people who may have perished in the Johannesburg fire – has been compiled. is.
The fire claimed the lives of 77 people, three of whom died in hospital. Twenty-seven patients are still recovering in various hospitals.
Police also took DNA samples from the 62 unidentifiable bodies, with 38 samples taken from immediate family members.
“Once the samples of the deceased and family members have been taken, they will be cross-referenced to see if we can identify any more of the deceased,” says Modiba.
Twenty bodies have already been handed over to their families.
Counseling services are still provided at the FPS mortuary in Diepkloof by leaders as well as the department’s psychologists.
The Gauteng provincial government has also made a hotline number available to help family members locate their loved ones. Inquiries can be made by calling the toll-free hotline number on 0800 203 886 or direct line during office hours on 011 355 3048/011 241 5707.