Blenheim cop helping identify MH17 bodies

21:56, Aug 05 2014

A Blenheim police officer is one of three New Zealand police body identification experts identifying victims of the flight MH17 disaster, Fairfax understands.

Senior Constable Al Hendrickson, of Blenheim, was one of three disaster victim identification (DVI) specialists invited by the Interpol Secretariat General Headquarters in Lyon, France, which is coordinating the identification process in the Netherlands.

Police would not confirm the names of the three New Zealand specialists.

Hendrickson, a member of the Marlborough crime prevention team, had a major role identifying Christchurch earthquake victims.

He also helped identify victims of the Boxing Day tsunami of 2004 in Asia and attended the aftermath of the deadly South Australian bush fires in 2008.

He could not be reached for comment.

Kiwi Mary Menke, who was based in Mallacoota, Victoria, and her Dutch husband Gerry were among the 298 who died in the crash, along with British-born New Zealander Robert Ayley, after the Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777 was shot down over Ukraine on July 17.

National operations manager Superintendent Barry Taylor said the DVI experts had extensive experience in body identification, which is "an exacting, challenging process which takes time".

"New Zealand police have internationally recognised expertise . . . gained through events such as its work in Thailand following the Boxing Day tsunami and the Victoria bush fires."

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The Marlborough Express