BEIRUT: The bodies of 33 Lebanese who drowned off the Indonesian coast in a tragic boat accident last month will be returned to Lebanon Thursday, a source at Beirut’s Airport told The Daily Star Tuesday.
The bodies will arrive at Rafik Hariri’s International Airport at 12:30 p.m., the source said.
The National News Agency said Joanna Qazzi, the Lebanese Charges d’Affaires in Jakarta, informed caretaker Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour about the date of arrival of the asylum-seekers’ bodies.
The NNA said the bodies would be accompanied by a delegation from Lebanon's Higher Relief Committee, headed by the committee’s chairman, Ibrahim Bashir.
A boat carrying around 80 migrants trying to illegally cross from Indonesia to Australia foundered off the Indonesian coast last month killing over 30 people. Only 18 survived and have already returned to Lebanon.
Most of the Lebanese victims hailed from the underdeveloped area of north Lebanon, mainly from the Akkar village of Qabeet.
DNA tests were conducted on the bodies earlier this month.
Two Lebanese who were on board the boat, a man and a child, remain missing and a search is under way for them.