A Sri Lankan woman thought to be dead in the passenger airline that disappeared in 1998 has been found to be alive. It turned out that the woman was not a passenger but her national identity card was being carried by somebody else. Gunamani Balasubramaniam, a Jaffna resident, was believed to be among the 48 passengers of the Lion Air plane which crashed into the northern seas as a result of an LTTE missile attack on September 29, 1998. Her national identity card was among the items salvaged early this month when the Sri Lankan Navy pulled out the wreckage of the airliner from the deep seas off Iranathivu island in the north. "I applied for my identity card in 1995. This was at the height of the LTTE activities in Jaffna.
So we left Jaffna and arrived in Vavuniya", she told the 'Lankadeepa' newspaper. "There was no direct road access from Jaffna to Vavuniya so my sister in Jaffna had handed over my identity card to someone coming from Jaffna to Colombo by plane", she said. Lion Air flight 602 left Kankesanturai Airport in Jaffna for Colombo but disappeared from radar screens. The plane had been shot down by the LTTE. All 7 crew members, 4 of them Russians, and 48 passengers were killed.