Doctors are conducting toxicology tests on crew members of US-Bangla Airlines that crashed at the Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) on Monday.

The Forensic Department of the Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital, which is conducting autopsy of those killed in the crash said the toxicology test will ascertain if the crew members, including flight captain and co-pilot, were under the influence of any poisons or toxins.

Experts at the department said only eight out of the 49 bodies could be identified easily.

Dr Pramod Shrestha, chief of the department, said it is an international practice to put the bodies of air crash victims through the toxicology test. “We expect to have the test reports in a few days. Besides, we will also do various histopathology examinations to see if the crew members suffered from any severe diseases,” said Dr Shrestha.

Other body fluids have also been sent for tests that would help experts ascertain the alcohol level and understand health conditions.

Similarly, doctors will also collect samples of organs, including heart, to study if the crew members suffered heart attack or any other severe health conditions that might have led to the crash.

According to doctors involved in the autopsy, they can start handing over the bodies from Thursday once the postmortem of all the bodies will be completed. Dr Shrestha said they have completed autopsy of 30 bodies.

“We can visibly identify only eight bodies while others cannot be identified because of severe burns,” he said.

Doctors will identify the bodies with the details like finger or ear rings, jewelries, any other identities like shape of jaws.

They also do their best to secure fingerprints of the deceased that will be matched with those in their citizenship or other national identity cards.

“We resort to the DNA testing if all the other techniques fail to identify the body,” Dr Shrestha added.

Forty-nine people died on Monday when a plane carrying 71 passengers and crew crashed at the TIA. Twenty-two people, including 11 Nepalis, survived the crash. Of the total passengers, 33 were Nepalis, 32 Bangladeshis, one Chinese and one from the Maldives.

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