Cuba: It could take a month to I.D. plane crash victims

2018-05-21 10:12:10 /

Cuba It could take a month to I.D. plane crash victims

Sergio Rabell Piera, director of the Institute of Legal Medicine, confirmed today that it could take up to a month to identify all the victims of the plane crash, which occurred at noon on Friday near the José Martí International Airport.

In a press briefing, the expert assured that a multidisciplinary team works 24 hours a day to help the forensic investigation close in less than the estimated time, although due to the characteristics of the event "we should not rush because we have to be precise", he said.

Rabell confirmed that all the technical and human resources are available to definitively determine the identity of those killed in the tragedy of the Boeing 737-200, which crashed to the ground moments after its departure from the air terminal.

According to the source, of the 110 victims of the incident, 20 have so far been identified, including the five children who were on the aircraft and the three survivors, currently in critical condition and under intensive care at the Calixto García Hospital, in Havana.

The also President of the National Identification Commission reported that the examination of all the bodies was completed early Sunday morning, and that the information was checked against that provided by relatives and other sources in order to clarify identities.

During the first 24 hours after the incident, 109 bodies were taken to the Institute, and he recalled that one survivor died in the transfer to the hospital.

In response to a question from the Cuban News Agency, Rabell Piera explained that in the investigation they are working together with the forces of the Ministry of the Interior, Public Health, the National and International Red Cross, the Fire Brigade, a cooperation that habitually works and in the face of this type of disaster, he said.

Cuba It could take a month to I.D. plane crash victims

He said that psychologists, psychiatrists, anthropologists and neurophysiologists, among other specialists from various disciplines, also work at the Institute.
Jorge Gonzalez Perez, a medical examiner with extensive experience, added that this is a complex situation for the identity process of the victims, given that many bodies are affected by multiple traumatisms, in addition to the effects of the flames and heat from the explosion of the device.

Gonzalez Perez, who led the team in search of the remains of Che and his guerrilla companions in Bolivia, meant that at the moment there are "no scientific criteria to show that there are any missing persons, nor to say that there are other victims from the crash site", since the plane crashed in an area close to homes.

The specialist stressed that the process cannot be rushed or worked on superficially, and that there are all the necessary means and experienced staff to identify the victims.

González Pérez, who worked on the investigation of the aviation accidents that have taken place in Cuba over the past 40 years, did not rule out the possibility of closing the investigation without identifying all the victims, "although it is unlikely that this will happen.


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