The owner, of the identity card found during salvage operations of the Antonov 24 wreckage, is reported to be living in Jaffna.
She has been identified as Gunamani Balasubramaniam and is a resident of the Meeraweli village in Jaffna.
When asked how she could have survived the disaster she said, “I applied for the identity card in 1995 when LTTE activities the area were at its height. Because of the heavy fighting we left Jaffna and came to live in Vavuniya. My sister informed us that the identity card had been sent to the Jaffna address,”
Ms. Balasubramaniam said it was impossible to travel from Jaffna to Vavuniya and therefore her sister had given the card to a person who had booked her seat on what turned out to be the ill-fated Antonov 24 flight to Colombo.
Ten minutes into the flight from Palaly on September 29, 1998, the Lion Air Antonov 24 was shot down by the LTTE when it was flying over the Iranativu Island.
Ms. Balasubramaniam said she applied for a new identity card when she had returned to Jaffna in 2002 but that too had been lost when she visited India in 2012.
She said she was astonished when told that her first identity card was found among the wreckage. (Romesh Madushanka)