Grim task begins to resolve plane crash riddle
18 November 2004, MADRID- The exhumation of the bodies of 21 of the soldiers involved in Spain's worst peacetime military air crash will begin on Monday.
18 November 2004
MADRID- The exhumation of the bodies of 21 of the soldiers involved in Spain's worst peacetime military air crash will begin on Monday.
Judge Teresa Palacios has ordered the exhumation to start from next week.
She also already charged four military officers involved in conducting post-mortems which wrongly identified the soldiers.
They were named as General Vicente Carlos Navarro Ruiz, General José Antonio Beltrándoña, Commandante J.R. Ramírez García and Captain M.A. Sáez García.
The two generals appeared in court this week to answer charges.
The move comes after families of those who died asked for their bodies to be exhumed in order that their real identities can be established, after a mix-up which led to the sacking of two generals and an apology from the government.
In May last year, 62 soldiers returning to Spain from a peacekeeping mission in Afghanistan were killed when the ageing Russian-built Yak-42 aircraft in which they were travelling crashed in Turkey. All the soldiers plus the aircrew were killed.
But the tragedy descended into a scandal when the Spanish government later admitted they had wrongly identified the bodies of the dead soldiers when they were hastily brought back home for state funerals.
It emerged that DNA tests later proved 30 soldiers whose bodies were analysed by Spanish medical teams in rushed autopsies were wrongly identified.
But the 32 soldiers whose remains were analysed by Turkish medics were correctly identified.
Last month, the present Defence Minister Jose Bono said the tragedy happened because an ageing ex-Soviet military aircraft which had a number of faults was rented instead of a better plane to save the government EUR 6,000.
The former defence secretary Federico Trillo, who was in office at the time of the tragedy, has apologised to parliament but refused to stand down as a deputy.
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news