Grim task of identifying the stampede victims begins

Grim task of identifying the stampede victims begins
Updated 26 September 2015

Grim task of identifying the stampede victims begins

Grim task of identifying the stampede victims begins

MINA: Representatives of Pakistan, Egypt, Iran, India and other countries have begun the painful task of identifying their nationals among 717 pilgrims who died in Thursday’s Haj stampede.
The bodies of the victims were moved from hospitals to a morgue in the Muaisam area of Mina throughout Thursday night.
At the morgue, the bodies were washed and photographed for identification. Their thumbprints were taken to help match them with the database of pilgrims that Saudi immigration authorities collect on arrival, and authorities displayed the pictures of 500 of them for relatives and Haj group leaders to recognize them.
Nearly 300 Pakistanis have been reported missing. “The actual missing figure was 432 but 100 were located on Friday,” said a Pakistani Haj volunteer who requested anonymity. “Missing does not in any way mean that they have died,” he clarified.
Ten Pakistanis have been confirmed dead and seven injured.
Indians identified 16 bodies. “We issued a list of 14 dead early Friday,” Indian Consul General B.S. Mubarak told Arab News. “We identified two more bodies on Friday evening.”
The Indian consul general and his team stayed up late to deal with harried relatives of pilgrims who are missing.
According to an Indian volunteer organization, a large group from Mangalore remains unaccounted for. Members of the group said their fellow pilgrims were in the area where the tragedy occurred.
Health Minister Khalid Al-Falih suggested that the stampede may have been caused by pilgrims failing to follow instructions from the pilgrim establishments.
In a statement posted on the ministry’s website, Al-Falih said an investigation would be conducted rapidly into the worst disaster to strike the annual pilgrimage for 25 years.
“The investigations, which was perhaps because some pilgrims moved without following instructions by the relevant authorities, will be fast and will be announced as has happened in other incidents,” said the statement.
Al-Falih said the injured were being transferred to hospitals in Makkah and if necessary on other parts of the country.
Among the victims are expatriates living in the Kingdom. One source said a group of five Keralite expatriates from Riyadh died in the tragedy.
Authorities in Indonesia said at least three Indonesian pilgrims died.
Kenyan officials say three of the dead are from their country.
Egypt’s Religious Endowments Minister Mohammed Mokhtar Gomaa told the state-run MENA news agency that the death toll for his country has risen to 14 and 30 injured.
Four Turks were killed and five remain missing.
Iran confirmed the death of 131 of its nationals in the stampede.
“A full breakdown of nationalities will take time,” a doctor at an emergency section of a top hospital in Mina, told Arab News on Friday.
He said most of the pilgrims died of asphyxiation. He said it would have been possible to resuscitate some of them but the hospitals were overwhelmed in the immediate aftermath of the tragedy.
He said most of the victims were trampled to death. “The bodies had gory foot marks on their chests, neck... which means the pilgrims from behind were trying to climb out over them.”