The News Minute | March 30, 2015 | 9:40 am IST
French investigators said on Sunday that they have performed DNA tests on the remains of 78 out of the 150 victims of the Germanwings air crash on March 24.
The names of the victims, whose remains were tested, have not yet been released, since for that, it will be necessary to crosscheck the results obtained with the DNA samples provided by the victims' relatives.
The collection of remains continued with about 50 helicopter flights over the crash site and about 50 people combing the area for body parts, the victims' possessions and pieces of the plane's debris.
So far, the site has been accessible only by air, but Marseille prosecutor Brice Robin, who is in charge of the investigation, said that a road would be opened up to the area so that vehicles can get in and out.
Investigators said that the recovery of remains would not be finished for another 10 days and it would require more time to identify the remains.
Only when the laborious process is finished will the remains be handed over to the victims' relatives.
It is possible that investigating authorities will order additional analyses of the remains of the pilot and co-pilot, in keeping with the regular protocol in any air accident.
In spite of intensive efforts, the plane's second black box, or the flight data recorder, has still not been found.
Investigators have said that considering the violence of the crash at 700 kmph into a ravine-covered and rocky mountainside, it has been difficult to find the second black box, but they are confident that they will find it sooner or later.
From the analysis of the one of the plane's black boxes, which was found among the plane's debris near Digne in France, investigators have said that German co-pilot Andreas Lubitz deliberately crashed the plane, killing all aboard.
The Airbus A320 jet operated by Germanwings, the budget carrier of Germany's Lufthansa airlines, was en route from Barcelona in Spain to Dusseldorf in Germany, when Lubitz locked the pilot out of the cockpit and caused the plane to descend into the mountainside. Most of the people on board were Germans and Spaniards.
According to the French daily Le Parisien, Lubitz was suffering from generalised anxiety disorder and his doctors had prescribed "medicines for the treatment of psychological illness".
The prosecution of Germany's Dusseldorf city announced on Friday that Lubitz had a medical leave note for the day of the flight, which he hid from the company.