4 Chinese dead in NZ quake formally identified

Updated: 2011-06-01 09:03
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WELLINGTON - The remains of five more victims including four Chinese of the Feb 22 earthquake that killed 181 people in New Zealand's second city of Christchurch have been identified, the chief coroner announced Wednesday.

The Disaster Victim Identification team had presented enough evidence on five of the previously unidentified victims of the earthquake for Coroner Sue Johnson to make a positive identification, the New Zealand Herald reported.

The five were among nine unidentified known victims who were in the CTV building at the time of the earthquake.

They were formally declared dead at an inquest held by Chief Coroner, Judge Neil MacLean, in Christchurch on May 16.

"The work carried out by the Disaster Victim Identification ( DVI) team is incredibly difficult and painstaking so these latest identifications are a wonderful testament to their persistence and professionalism," Judge MacLean said.

The identifications were through dental records, anthropological evidence and personal property details, some of which had only recently been obtained, the newspaper reported.

The report quoted head of the DVI operation, Inspector Mike Wright, saying, "With the arrival of new information from overseas we have been able to formally confirm identifications in these cases, which is a great result for the DVI team, but more importantly for the families."

A second inquest will hear evidence on 106 of the victims from the CTV building in Christchurch from June 13 to 15.

The hearings will be grouped, with evidence on 12 people believed to have been killed at The Clinic and eight victims from the building to be heard on Monday, 13 staff from CTV and eight staff from Kings College language school to be heard on Tuesday, and 65 students of the College to be heard on Wednesday, said the report.