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How are recovered bodies identified?

Updated: 2014-04-21 09:00:03 (KST)
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When bodies are recovered, the first procedure is to check the personal belongings of the victim, and their physical appearance, such as their height.
If the body is able to be identified, the family is contacted, so they can confirm with their own eyes.
If the body can't be identified, the body is sent to a nearby hospital for examination, which includes taking DNA samples and fingerprint identification.
Blood tests and biopsies are taken if the recovered body has been severely damaged.
However, with fears of a sudden rush of bodies being recovered at once, and complaints that the procedures have been inefficient, medical experts have begun collecting DNA samples from relatives of the missing passengers.
Tents to collect DNA have been set up, beside the auditorium where many families of the missing passengers have been spending sleepless nights, as well as at Paengmok-hang Harbor, near the site of accident.
While rescue divers are putting in great efforts to search for survivors and recover bodies, the time that has passed and the harsh conditions at sea could now make it difficult to identify the bodies.
Almost 90 percent of relatives of the missing have registered their DNA.
Although they are still clinging onto hope their loved ones are still alive, some are preparing for the worst.


"My wife still wants to believe our child will come back alive, but looking at the situation now, I just hope our child's body comes back soundly at least."

With unfavorable weather and harsh conditions at sea hampering rescue efforts, the physical and mental health of the families are also deteriorating by the minute.


"I took care of my niece for 11 years. I'm so so upset. I told her to have a safe trip and she said, 'yes.' Since then, I've heard nothing."

Navy officials say the DNA samples will be analyzed as soon as possible.
The DNA samples will be sent to the national forensic center to see if they match with the victims.
Lee Seung-jae, Arirang News.


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