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1,554 Swedes taken off missing list

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14:24 CET+01:00

Foreign office staff working through Sunday night and Monday morning to contact Swedish citizens reported missing following last week's catastrophe in Asia say they have been able to strike 1,554 names off the list.

At a press conference on Sunday cabinet secretary Hans Dahlgren said that the total number of Swedes missing was 2,915. However, other people are still being reported as missing and the foreign office is unwilling to announce any new figures.

"At the same time that we cross names off, new ones are being added," said Jens Odlander at the foreign office. "We're constantly weighing up quick information against accurate information and we're waiting before going public with a new list."

Dagens Nyhter reported that both Finland and Denmark have published full lists of their nationals who are missing, and Norway is planning to do the same.

However, the foreign office says it is concerned not only about causing relatives unnecessary grief by publishing inaccurate lists, but also about security issues: there is a fear that the houses of missing families will be burgled.

"It's a fine balance. For the time being we've decided not to go out with names but we're constantly assessing the situation and it's not out of the question that we'll do so later on," said Jens Odlander.

According to DN, the majority of people accounted for in the last 24 hours are the independent travellers who had only booked flights to Thailand.

"They have maybe been slower to understand what's happened, and they haven't understood that they have to get in touch with their relatives," said Joakim Eriksson at the My Travel group, which is still missing 130 travellers.

Another large tour company operating in the area, Fritidsresor, told DN that 250 of their guests are still unaccounted for.

Meanwhile, the first plane carrying the bodies of Swedes who perished in Thailand was expected to leave Phuket airport "by Tuesday morning at the latest", according to Svenska Dagbladet.

"But we're working hard so that the transport plane will be able to leave earlier, maybe Monday evening," said Johan Hederstedt at the foreign office.

Six to eight coffins will be brought home in the first Hercules plane to leave Thailand after a ceremony at Phuket airport. It is not yet clear whether they will be brought to Arlanda or Bromma in Stockholm, but authorities are planning another ceremony on their arrival.

Johan Hederstedt said that the majority of the bodies of Swedes who died would not be able to leave Thailand for another two to three weeks.

As SvD explained, "before a body can be flown to Sweden, it must be identified and given a death certificate, and a permit to take the body out of Thailand must be obtained". DNA tests and dental records are being used to identify the bodies.

Sources: Dagens Nyheter, Svenska Dagbladet, Expressen, Aftonbladet

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