The Libyan government has instructed UK-based Trimega Laboratories to coordinate DNA analysis and carry out forensic work on the remains of the passengers who died when Afriqiyah Airways Flight 771 from Johannesburg crash-landed at Tripoli Airport (on 12.5.10). All but one of the 104 people onboard the Airbus A330-200 perished - with 70 of the dead originating from Holland, along with a number of Libyans, South Africans, Zimbabweans, Austrians, Germans, French and one British citizen.
Assisted by UK Trade & Investment and under the personal supervision of the head of forensics for the Libyan Ministry of Justice, samples have been transported by a private medical aircraft to Trimega's laboratory in Manchester. Trimega will now perform DNA tests, matching the results with the genotypes of the bodies recovered to ensure their identities are accurately confirmed without delay.
Duncan Hill, Deputy Trade Commissioner for South Africa from UK Trade & Investment, commented: "We wanted to help the families from the Afriqiyah Airways disaster as quickly as possible with regards to passenger identification. With our logistical support and Trimega taking over the task of co-ordinating the laboratory tests, we can alleviate some of the psychological pain the families are suffering by getting the bodies returned in a correct legal and scientific manner."
Avi Lasarow, CEO of Trimega Laboratories, commented: "In tragic circumstances such as this, identifying human remains quickly and precisely are of the utmost importance for all those involved. We work bi-laterally between South Africa and Europe and, having been born and brought up in Johannesburg myself, this case has personal significance. We acknowledge the Libyans and UKTI for their swift and thorough way of handling the case which will aid us enormously in getting the necessary results delivered in a tight timeframe."
Trimega Laboratories, which has worked with the Libyan government in the past, also carries out alcohol and drug misuse testing on air crew and groundstaff for air industry organisations such as 1Time Airlines and Menzies.