Many aircrash victims died of burns, say doctors

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  • Police get 160 post mortem reports against 158 bodies

Mangalore, 18 August 2010: Most of the passengers of the ill-fated Dubai-Mangalore IX-812 Air India Express died of burns though it is very difficult to asertain the exact reason of death, opined two doctors who performed post mortem on many bodies on May 22 and May 23, 2010.

Deposing before the Court of Inquiry formed to probe into the cause of accident to Boing 737-800 aircraft that plunged into the valley off the Mangalore airport on May 22, 2010, on the second day of public hearing on Wednesday, Dr K R Nagesh (Associate Professor at Forensic Medicine Department in Fr Muller Medical College) said that even though the passengers suffered ante mortem injuries, it is difficult to ascertain the exact cause of death during post mortem as the exposure of bodies to high temperature would obscure the ante mortem injuries.

Stating that he received special guidelines on conducting post mortem on pilots on May 28, he said the post mortem was done on May 22 and May 23. He performed post mortem on 11 bodies including that of Pilot Z Glusica.

Dr Ritesh Menezes from KMC said that the doctors presently follow the guidelines framed in 1937, though many changes have taken place over the years.

District Surgeon Dr P Saroja said that Wenlock Hospital performed a record 128 post mortems out of the 158 victims.

160 PM reports

Sub Inspector Shyam Sunder who deposed before the Court said that the police received 160 post mortem reports though only 158 passengers had died in the air crash.
Explaining the difficulties the police faced in managing the traffic on the day of the crash, he said though the police blocked the road at Kavoor (to block vehicles going from Mangalore) and Porkodi (coming from Bajpe), hundreds of people walked 3 to 4 kms to the crash site.

To visit Captain’s family

When the assessors were trying to find out what medicines Captain Glusica’s was consuming, in case if he used to, Air India Limited Assistant GM Group Captain Sudhir Amin said that Air India officer at Frankfurt airport has already been contacted and he has been asked to visit the captain’s family at Belgrade. “As there are some visa problems, there is a slight delay,” he said.

Real angels

The survivors as well as assessors were full of praise for Air India volunteers nicknamed ‘Angels.’

The survivors said that the ‘Angels’ were angels, literally. “They took very good care of us,” the survivors said.

Group Captain Amin said that the Air India had planned to conduct a mock exercise to Air India Angels on May 31. “Unfortunately, we had to take part in a real situation,” he said and added that it plans to increase the strength to 1,200 against the present 175 volunteers.

Officer breaks down

While deposing before the Court, Joint GM (Air Traffic Management) Thomas K Thomas, who was also in-charge of the airport on the day of the crash (as Airport Director Peter Abraham was on leave), became emotional and could not speak.

On two occasions, he took a break and later answered the queries of the Court.


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