Mon, May 27, 2002 - Page 3 News List

Police ready to investigate

HELPING HANDS Both the Ministry of Justice and the National Police Administration have sent teams to the crash scene and many more personnel are standing by

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The National Police Administration (NPA) and the Ministry of Justice said yesterday that they were ready to assist in the investigation of China Airlines flight CI611.

NPA Criminal Investigation Bureau Commissioner Cheng Ching-sung (鄭清松) led a team of 21 of the bureau's forensic pathologists and agents with expertise in explosions to Makung, Penghu County, yesterday morning.

The team took fingerprint records for body identification and high-tech equipment used in identifying explosive agents.

Cheng said that he hoped the equipment could help clarify the question of whether Flight CI611 exploded in the air before it crashed. The bureau will also make DNA testing available for surviving family members in an effort to speed up the identification of bodies.

Regarding a rumor that the jumbo jetliner was accidentally shot down by missiles fired by the military, Weng Jing-hui (翁景惠), the director of the bureau's identification division, said that the evidence collected so far does not shed any light on that theory.

"According to the debris found by rescuers, we cannot come up with any conclusion of the reason which caused the crash," said Weng. "If our agents find any evidence of any explosives on the debris, we will be able to figure out whether the aircraft was detonated to explode in the air or was shot down by missiles," he said.

Huang Yi-sheng (黃奕昇), a forensic pathologist, said that most bodies he has identified so far showed that a bone fracture was the main cause of death for most of the passengers.

"Most of the bodies were in one piece," Huang said. "Most of them died because of bone fractures. This suggests that most of them were still alive when they fell out of the plane."

But Huang explained that the passengers would not have felt what was happening to them.

"Due to the low air pressure and low temperature up there where they were -- about 10km above the ground -- once a human body falls out of the plane, the person will immediately lose consciousness. And it usually takes only three minutes to reach the sea level from an altitude that high," he said.

The ministry has ordered its Taoyuan District Prosecutors Office to stand by to join the investigation process. Taoyuan prosecutors yesterday requested CKS International Airport turn over its video tapes from its security close-circuit television system at the baggage check-in counters and immigration counters.

"We have gone through a rough security check on the passengers' name list but we did not find anything suspicious," a prosecutor said. "Other than the the videotapes, we will also investigate related baggage X-ray examination records to see if we missed something."

For information on DNA testing for victim identification, call 02-2756-9224 or 02-2767-8202 from 8:30am to 9:30pm.

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