Head of the Estonian Forensic Science Institute, Üllar Lanno, said it may take months to identify the bodies of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, which was shot down last week, and some remains may never be recovered.
The first 40 coffins left Ukraine for the Netherlands today, although the death toll for the crash is 298, mostly Dutch citizens.
The bodies will be identified in the Netherlands, where the aircraft took off from last Thursday.
According to Lanno, DNA tests are only part of the process of identifying the remains, with fingerprints, teeth, scars from operations or injuries, tattoos, or even jewelry and wedding rings used for identification.
Relatives and friends will be asked to describe the above marks and DNA samples will be taken from relatives, which will all take time, Lanno said.
“If you think about the speed of the aircraft, 800 kilometers per hour, the height, 10 kilometers from the ground, with the remains falling from the aircraft and the wind direction altering the location. There may be more bodies to be found,” he said, adding that he doubts the large area can be combed through manually.
He said the bodies of people sitting near the explosion may have evaporated.
A total of 282 bodies were loaded onto trains and taken to an airport, although experts say only 200 of those bodies could be verified.