Identification of victims will take nearly a week

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Bangalore, November 1:  Bodies of three out of the 45 people charred to death in the Volvo bus accident near Mahbubnagar near Hyderabad early on Wednesday have been identified, Transport Minister Ramalinga Reddy has said.

Mr. Reddy is in Hyderabad along with senior officials of the Transport Department, including Transport Commissioner K. Amarnarayan, and officials from Raichur, to coordinate efforts to identify victims from Karnataka.

He said relatives of 16 victims from Karnataka had come to Osmania hospital to identify and claim the bodies. “But, the bodies can be handed over only after carrying out a DNA test, which needs at least five to six days,” he told The Hindu over phone from Hyderabad.

The three bodies that were identified were of those passengers who were partially burnt, he added.

The body of Venkatesh Babu (50) who was killed in the accident along with his cousin Anita — they had gone to distribute wedding invitations to actor Chiranjeevi — was among those identified on Thursday. A relative said they identified Venkatesh through a gold ring on his finger and a silver band. A DNA test has to be done before they claim the body.

A team from the Andhra Pradesh Forensic Science Lab will do the DNA tests. Relatives of victims have been told to file a missing person complaint with the Kothakota police station and submit a DNA sample for verification.

Mr. Reddy also visited the survivors who are being treated at Osmania hospital. The driver, Firoz, is in police custody and is being questioned. According to Mr. Reddy, he reportedly confessed to the police that he was speeding and lost control and rammed into the culvert. The engine and 600 l of diesel caught fire, he said.

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