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New Zealand police launch search for S. Koreans missing in quake

CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand, (Yonhap) -- Police in New Zealand on Monday visited the father of two South Korean siblings who remain missing since last week's deadly earthquake to retrieve evidence that could help identify the two, the South Korean embassy in Wellington said.

Police visited the 57-year-old father, Yoo Sang-cheol, at his motel in Christchurch to collect cell samples from his mouth and conduct a careful study of his children's belongings, the embassy said.

"The New Zealand police informed us that they would like to take a close look at the Yoo siblings' belongings in order to identify them in the worst case scenario," an embassy official said.

Quake-damaged vehicles are seen in Christchurch, New Zealand, on Feb. 27, 2011. The confirmed death toll from the New Zealand Christchurch earthquake rose to 146 on Sunday, while the number of missing people remains at more than 200. (Xinhua-Yonhap News)
Quake-damaged vehicles are seen in Christchurch, New Zealand, on Feb. 27, 2011. The confirmed death toll from the New Zealand Christchurch earthquake rose to 146 on Sunday, while the number of missing people remains at more than 200. (Xinhua-Yonhap News)

The 24-year-old son, Yoo Gil-hwan, and 21-year-old daughter, Na-on, are feared to have been inside a six-story building when it collapsed in the 6.3-magnitude quake that hit New Zealand's second-largest city last Tuesday. Their father arrived here two days later.

If necessary, the embassy said it plans to bring the siblings' medical records from South Korea to be used by the local police here. It also said it has been impossible to check whether the two were among the 148 people confirmed dead so far, adding that the identification process is likely to take more than a month.

Local rescue authorities said bodies dug up from the rubble were damaged beyond recognition.

Meanwhile, South Korea's foreign ministry said it has decided to send New Zealand the relief supplies it requested, including tents, foldable bottles and electric generators. More than 2,000 items will be sent by air on Tuesday, it said.

The ministry last week withdrew its plan to dispatch South Korean rescue workers after authorities here said there were too many people working at the scene already. The two sides will continue to discuss any further supply of equipment or trained workers to help the ongoing recovery effort, the ministry said.

 

<한글 기사>

뉴질랜드 경찰, 유씨 남매 아버지 구강세포 수거

뉴질랜드 경찰은 크라이 스트처치를 강타한 강진으로 실종된 한국인 유학생 유모씨 남매 아버지의 구강세포를 채취하는 등 신원파악 작업에 본격적으로 나섰다.

뉴질랜드 경찰은 28일 오전 유씨 남매 아버지 유상철씨(57. 강원도 횡성)가 묵고 있는 크라이스트처치 시내 모텔을 방문, DNA 검사를 위해 유씨의 구강세포를 

채취하는 한편 유씨 남매가 갖고 있던 시계 등 각종 소지품 현황을 상세히 파악하고 돌아갔다.

뉴질랜드 주재 한국대사관은 "뉴질랜드 경찰이 최악의 상황을 가정해 유씨 남매의 신원파악을 위해 소지품 등을 상세히 파악하고 싶다는 뜻을 통보해 왔다"고 밝혔다.

한국대사관은 필요할 경우 유씨 남매의 의료검사 기록 등을 한국으로부터 입수해 뉴질랜드 경찰에 전달한다는 방침이다.

한국대사관은 현재 사망자로 확인된 148명 가운데 유씨 남매가 포함돼 있는지는 전혀 알 수 없는 상황이라며 사망자 신원 확인에는 최소 1개월 이상 걸릴 것으로 예상했다.

뉴질랜드 구조 당국은 "매몰된 지역에서 발굴된 사체의 훼손 정도가 심해 육안으로는 신원을 파악할 수 없는 상태"라고 말했다.

(연합뉴스)

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