Hundreds of Eastern Star victims’ identities confirmed via DNA tests

World Today

Eastern Star A family member of an Eastern Star victim weeps on the bank in Jianli, central China’s Hubei Province, June 10, 2015. (Xinhua/Xiao Yijiu)

Forensic experts have so dar confirmed the identities of 358 victims from the capsized ‪‎Eastern‬ Star cruise ship.

358 victims’ identities confirmed via DNA tests Forensic experts have confirmed the identities of 358 victims from the capsized #Eastern Star cruise ship. More than 170 forensic staff in Jianli, Jingzhou and Wuhan has been working around the clock to confirm the identities of the victims of the ill-fated Eastern Star cruise ship. As of Thursday afternoon, forensic teams have found matches on 352 DNA samples. They’re now working to confirm the identities of the rest of the victims. But they have run into challenges due to the lack of ideal blood samples. “Some of the victims have only one immediate family member or no immediate family members. And some of the victims’ remains are highly decayed,” says Zhou Xujin, forensic expert of Hubei Provincial Public Security Department.

Posted by CCTVNews on Friday, June 12, 2015

More than 170 forensic staff in Jianli, Jingzhou, and Wuhan has been working around the clock to confirm the identities of the victims of the ill-fated ship.

As of Thursday afternoon local time, forensic teams have found matches on 352 DNA samples. They were then working to confirm the identities of the rest of the victims. But the lack of ideal blood samples has become a challenge.

“Some of the victims have only one immediate family member or no immediate family members. And some of the victims’ remains are highly decayed,” Zhou Xujin, forensic expert of Hubei Provincial Public Security Department, said.

The DNA tests are based on blood samples from immediate family members. If samples can be taken from subjects’ parents and children, accuracy rates can 99.99%. But if there are not enough family samples to draw from, the DNA tests are not reliable enough to confirm a genetic match.

dna

Zhou says that in order to ensure accuracy in single immediate family member DNA tests, they will use other measures to confirm victims’ identities, like traveling to places where the victims used to live to collect their personal belongings for further tests.

China’s ministry of public security has informed local authorities in eight provinces and municipalities, such as Shanghai and Tianjin, to collect DNA samples from the immediate family members of the victims. In the meantime, DNA samples will also be collected from the suspected victims’ remains that were found in the Yangtze River downstream of the site of the tragedy. The final results will be sent back to Jianli.

The relatives of many victims are in Jianli, waiting to hear news about their loved ones.

Provincial authorities in Hubei said they are trying to speed up their work while maintaining its accuracy in order to let the victims rest in peace as soon as possible.

CCTV News