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Hawaii fires death toll revised to 97, with 31 missing


Authorities in Hawaii have adjusted the number of deaths from the deadly Maui wildfires down to at least 97 people.

Previously officials believed at least 115 people had died in the fires, but further testing showed they had multiple DNA samples from some of those who died.

John Byrd, a forensics laboratory director with the US Department of Defence, said during a press conference on Friday that the current number of dead should be considered a minimum, because it is possible that toll could rise.

Determining the death toll from the August 8 wildfires in Lahaina has been especially complicated because of the damage caused by the fire and the chaos as people tried to escape, officials said. In some cases, animal remains were inadvertently collected along with human remains.

A total of 31 people are still missing.

So far, 74 of the deceased have been positively identified, said Maui Police Chief John Pelletier.

The Lahaina fire is the deadliest in the US in more than a century.