Volume 32, Issue 5 (September 1987)
Correlations of Injury, Toxicology, and Cause of Death to Galaxy Flight 203 Crash Site
This report details the medical investigation of the crash of Galaxy Flight 203, on 21 Jan. 1985, near Reno, Nevada. Sixty-eight persons died at the scene, two died during hospitalization, and one victim survived. After completion of autopsies on all victims, pathologists determined causes of death based upon injuries, evidence of smoke inhalation, and toxicologic results. Our research shows that the majority of victims survived the impact only to succumb to toxic gas and fire. We correlated the causes of death, various injuries, and toxicologic findings to body location at the crash site to aid in reconstructing the events surrounding the accident and to address medicolegal problems and safety considerations. Our experience clearly supports the need for thorough medical investigation, including autopsy of each victim and determination of the precise cause of death for all fatalities.