Sri Lanka govt revises toll in Easter Sunday blasts from 359 to 253; says scale of mutilation is grim indicator of explosions' force

The dramatic revision of the death toll in Sri Lanka's Easter bombings, which has been cut by more than 100, is a grim indicator of the power of the deadly blasts.

Agence France-Presse April 26, 2019 15:31:53 IST
Sri Lanka govt revises toll in Easter Sunday blasts from 359 to 253; says scale of mutilation is grim indicator of explosions' force
  • The dramatic revision of the death toll in Sri Lanka's Easter bombings, which has been cut by more than 100, is a grim indicator of the power of the deadly blasts

  • The force of the explosions so badly mutilated bodies that parts of victims were wrongly collated and identified in the initial confusion, officials said

  • Health Ministry director general Anil Jasinghe said the 'very complex nature of the human remains' made it hard for forensic experts to initially compile an accurate toll

Colombo: The dramatic revision of the death toll in Sri Lanka's Easter bombings, which has been cut by more than 100, is a grim indicator of the power of the deadly blasts. The force of the explosions so badly mutilated bodies that parts of victims were wrongly collated and identified in the initial confusion, officials said.

Sri Lanka govt revises toll in Easter Sunday blasts from 359 to 253 says scale of mutilation is grim indicator of explosions force

Security personnel at the site of the blasts on Sunday. AP

"Many of the victims were badly mutilated... There was double counting," the health ministry said in explaining the new death toll of 253, down from 359 announced on Wednesday. Health Ministry director general Anil Jasinghe said the "very complex nature of the human remains" made it hard for forensic experts to initially compile an accurate toll.

"In explosions like this, bodies get badly mutilated. It is not always possible to have complete bodies," he said. "This is why it was initially difficult to arrive at a precise toll."

The sheer force of the suicide bombings at three churches and three hotels is clear from the damage sustained by the targeted buildings. At St Sebastian's Church in Negombo, north of the capital, the explosion was so powerful it brought down much of the roof, showering the congregation in roof tiles, and sheared the plaster off walls.

Authorities are still investigating details on the bombs used in the six attacks, which were followed by two more explosions as police raided addresses searching for suspects. So far, they believe that the attackers did not use C4, the explosive that was the weapon of choice for bombings carried out by the country's Tamil militants during their deadly decades-long insurgency, which ended in 2009.

But the precise nature of the explosives and the size of the bombs is still being worked out. One clue lies in images of one of the men believed to be among the attackers, who was captured on CCTV just before he entered St Sebastian’s.

He is seen carrying what appears to be a full and heavy backpack, before entering the church seconds before a massive blast. Sources close to the investigation told AFP they believe the attackers may have used an explosive less powerful than C4, but packed their bombs with larger quantities of it to render their weapons more deadly.

The result was devastating, and Jasinghe said it had taken its toll even on the experienced staff of the country's forensic morgue facilities. "It has been a very grim task, even for the staff," he said.

"We were overwhelmed and the staff worked around the clock until Thursday to complete the task of autopsies.

Updated Date:

Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.

also read

FIFA World Cup 2022 organisers in Qatar lay off employees after 'efficiency exercise'
Sports

FIFA World Cup 2022 organisers in Qatar lay off employees after 'efficiency exercise'

Qatar has opened three of the eight stadiums that will be used in the tournament across November and December 2022 which means fewer staff overseeing building infrastructure are required.

No way to play cancelled Tests if ICC doesn't extend World Test Championship cycle, says Bangladesh Cricket Board
First Cricket News

No way to play cancelled Tests if ICC doesn't extend World Test Championship cycle, says Bangladesh Cricket Board

The pandemic has taken a toll on the international calendar with Bangladesh missing eight Tests which were part of the ICC Test Championship which was launched on August 1 last year.

'I'm a cricket nuffy, so you are always thinking about it': Australia skipper Aaron Finch already plotting title bid for 2023 World Cup
First Cricket News

'I'm a cricket nuffy, so you are always thinking about it': Australia skipper Aaron Finch already plotting title bid for 2023 World Cup

India hosts the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2023 and Finch feels it is time zero in on a pool for sub-continental conditions.