Mahdia tragedy: DNA results back, all bodies positively identified


Following meticulous tests and analyses conducted this week, the bodies of the remaining 14 persons who perished in the tragic Mahdia Secondary School dorm fire have been positively identified.

President Dr. Irfaan Ali confirmed this on Friday afternoon.

He said Guyanese authorities received the DNA results and the samples collected from the children’s parents match all of the bodies.

This means those parents will be able to lay their children to rest now.

A total of 19 children– 18 girls and one boy- died in the fire. Several autopsies were completed and one victim, 16-year-old Sabrina John, was laid to rest on Wednesday in her hometown Karisparu.

But the bodies of these 14 persons were burnt beyond recognition, making it difficult for the families to identify the bodies. As such, the children’s parents were tested and their DNA samples were sent to the Mount Sinai Hospital in New York for analyses.

“A special plane was flown in to pick up those samples; that plane would return the results of those samples to Guyana and yes, they have given us a timeline of sometime on Friday.

“…As I am speaking to you now, the pathologists are working on that,” the President said on Thursday during a briefing in Lethem, Region Nine (Upper Takutu- Upper Essequibo).

Later Friday, a release from the Ministry of Health noted that DNA analyses were conducted on fourteen bodies, the thirteen bodies of girls from the Mahdia fire and one body of a boy child who died in the fire as well.

The samples from the forensic specimens were obtained from thirteen bodies by a Specialist Pathologist Dr Shubhaker Karra Paul, through a bilateral arrangement between Guyana from Barbados while another forensic specimen was obtained from a young boy and was taken by Guyanese Pathologist, Dr Nehaul Singh. These specimens were compared to DNA samples taken from parents and siblings.

The release also highlighted that the Hess Corporation, one of the co-venturers in the Stabroek Block offshore Guyana, air-dashed the specimens and samples from Georgetown to New York.

Importantly, the release said arrangements have been put in place by the Guyana Police Force for the families to take possession of the bodies. It was also noted that the government is providing support to all families for funerals over the next few days.

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1 Comment
  1. Patricia Pierre says

    l must commend our President Dr. Irfaan Ali and his team for their efficiency and promptness in getting those autopsies done. I must also commend the medical team of New York, USA. for performing an excellent and effective job.

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