Volume 47, Issue 6 (November 2002)
The Crash of LOT Flight 007: Dental Identification
The authors record the contribution of dentistry to the identification of American victims of one of the most significant aircraft tragedies involving American athletes-the March 1980 crash of a Soviet-made Ilyushin 62 Polish jetliner and the deaths of 31 Americans including a 22-member U.S. amateur boxing team with several U.S. Olympic team candidates. Preparedness was a factor in the dental team's ability to re-solve many notable and unexpected problems. Jurisdictional restraints that Polish authorities imposed on the U.S. investigative team hindered its efforts to identify American passengers. The team used dental and fingerprint methods of identification whenever possible and obtained further evidence from anthropologic methods, visual recognition, and personal effects. Dental readiness, organization, methodology, and lessons learned are documented in this paper.