Identifying Venezuela crash victims 'difficult'

17th August 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Aug 17 (UPDATE: AFP) - Identifying the remains of 152 French passengers and eight crew members killed on a Colombian jetliner crash in Venezeula will be "difficult" because of the state of the bodies at the point of impact, French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy said Wednesday.

PARIS, Aug 17 (UPDATE: AFP) - Identifying the remains of 152 French passengers and eight crew members killed on a Colombian jetliner crash in Venezeula will be "difficult" because of the state of the bodies at the point of impact, French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy said Wednesday.

"The conditions in which we are recovering the remains signify a difficult task in recognising and especially a difficult task in identifying the victims," he told journalists in Paris.

The MacDonnell Douglas MD-82 plane owned by West Caribbean Airways of Colombia crashed in northwestern Venezuela after both engines failed. The 152 passengers on board were all residents of the French Caribbean island of Martinique, returning after a week-long vacation in Panama. The eight members of the Columbian crew were also killed.

France would provide support for the relatives and "provide for a trip to Venezuela for those who wish to go," Douste-Blazy said.

His office told AFP later Wednesday that the foreign minister would accompany this group of families in the coming days, "if possible as early as Saturday".

France has sent three officials to the crash site to help with the grisly recovery work, and another four diplomats and a psychiatrist were on their way.

Fifteen other experts were sent to Martinique to gather samples and information from the families of those killed, Douste-Blazy said.

US, Colombian and Venezuelan officials are all also cooperating in the investigation into the accident, which occurred Tuesday.

Douste-Blazy said around 60 bodies had been transferred to a morgue in the nearby Venezuelan city of Maracaibo.

He added that French government officials were holding daily meetings on the disaster.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news, crash, Martinique, Venezuela, Douste-Blazy

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