SA man to help Libya crash victims

Published Jun 2, 2010


By Angelique Serrao

A South African has been asked to lead the investigation into the DNA testing on the 103 victims who died in the Libyan airplane crash last month.

The London-based company Trimega Laboratories, which is owned by South Africa's Avi Lasarow, has been asked by the Libyan government to conduct the testing.

Trimega will carry out forensic work on the remains of the 103 passengers who were aboard the Afriqiyah Airways Airbus A330-200 which crashed just before landing.

Thirteen of the passengers were South African and 70 were Dutch. Other citizens were from Libya, including 11 crew members; a Zimbabwean; and citizens from Austria, Germany, France and Britain.

Lasarow said that as a South African he felt obliged to perform the investigation on behalf of the South African victims who died in the crash and to help their families find closure.

South African families flew to Libya three weeks ago to try to physically identify the remains of their loved ones. Three were identified by means of the uniforms they were wearing, but the rest were too burnt to be recognised.

Family members supplied DNA, dental and medical records to help identify the bodies.

The laboratory has already started work in London. Lasarow said this was because they wanted to centralise the testing close to where the majority of victims were from (Europe).

He has worked for the Libyan government before on more than 50 cases.

"In tragic circumstances such as this, (the) speed and accuracy of confirmation are of the utmost importance to all concerned - not just for the relatives - for whom the tests are obviously important on an emotional level - but for the insurers and the professional nature in which they can process claims," he said.

Lasarow is the South African entrepreneur and driving force behind the Drugalyser, which allows for drug testing in the same way a breathalyser detects alcohol.

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