Volume 44, Issue 2 (March 1999)
Methods for Identification of 28 Burn Victims Following a 1996 Bus Accident in Spain
A car collided head-on with a bus containing 56 passengers plus the driver. A few seconds after the crash, the bus caught fire and 28 persons (15 male and 13 female) lost their lives. All the deceased were almost completely incinerated. To establish the identity of the victims, the judge in charge of the case designated a multidisciplinary Identification Commission. Postmortem procedures included a general external examination, routine photographs, dental examination, dental (intraoral and extraoral) and general radiographs (chest, ankle, etc.), and complementary biological methods for identification (e.g., DNA analysis). The antemortem information, including dental and medical records available, were transcribed onto the INTERPOL disaster victim identification forms. The detailed ante- and postmortem information were compared manually. In this disaster dental identity could be established in 57% of the victims, whereas dental evidence did not allow by itself the identification of 12 burned victims. Odontological examination and complementary radiographic procedures were found to be accurate, economic and rapid methods of identifying badly burned victims in this bus accident.