Source: AAP | Published: Monday June 26, 11:54 AM

DNA needed to identify backpackers
The Brisbane coroner today formally opened the inquest into the Childers backpacker hostel fire, saying identification of the bodies was so difficult DNA testing may be required.

Coroner Michael Halliday briefly opened the inquest into the June 22 fire saying an indeterminate number of people had died in the blaze.

However police have disclosed a current body count of 15 in the Palace Backpackers Hostel, with 11 of the young victims believed to be overseas visitors.

Mr Halliday said formal identification of the bodies may be a lengthy process.

"There is and will be some difficulty with the issue of identification," Mr Halliday said.

"I do not intend at this time to refer to the reasons for such difficulty suffice to say that identification of each of the deceased will have its own degree of difficulty depending upon the physical state

of each body.

"It has thus become necessary for consideration to be given to the obtaining from appropriate sources of such aids to identification as dental charts and medical records.

"There is also the possibility for the need of DNA testing."

Mr Halliday said his office would formally announce the outcome of the investigation in relation to the identity of each of the deceased.

He said a formal inquest would be set down for hearing as soon as the police and fire investigation was completed and the next-of-kin of the deceased would be kept fully informed of the progress

of the inquiry.

Mr Halliday, who inspected the fire scene on Saturday, said it became apparent from consulting with members of the diplomatic corps and others that there was a general concern and interest

about the coronial inquiry, in particular in relation to time scale.

The inquest was adjourned to a date to be fixed.