|We recently had a horrible plane crash in our state in which all the people on board were killed instantly. The news media said the authorities were having a difficult time identifying the bodies, but it has finally been completed & the bodies returned to the state where the plane crash originated, for funerals. I have several questions about this: first of all, would the bodies have been torn apart & body parts strewn all over the crash field? And secondly, after each body has been collected & put in a body bag to be shipped---is the whole body bag just placed in a casket for the funeral, or is the body (and its parts) taken out & placed in the casket? I'm assuming no embalming is even attempted, especially if the body is in parts, since there was no viewing at any of the funerals. Also, would a family member have to identify their loved one's body for a positive identification? I'm sorry if this sounds gruesome to you, but, the story of this crash has dominated the news in our state this week, and I have been very upset about it. Thank you for your answers to my questions.|
|First, I was certified as a Mortuary Disaster Coordinator from training through the Federal Emergency Management Agency sponsored by the National Funeral Directors Assn. I was not involved in the tragedy you mention and it would be completely irresponsible for me to make any assumptions about the scene or identifications or statements about this situation. I can tell you that the identification process is an exhaustive effort and families are spared as much as possible. I do not know if families were asked to make identifications or if it was mostly accomplished through forensic and other scientific means. I can tell you that when the bodies are identified and placed in pouches that are then placed in caskets they are usually not disturbed any further and remain as they are placed. Again, I do not know anything about this incident so I can not really answer your question.
One final thought, the people who volunteer, specially trained funeral directors, forensic specialists, medical examiners, all do a tremendous service with no real compensation except lodging and expenses, work hours on end with no breaks or rest in some of the most difficult situations imaginable. Without their expertise many of these tragedies would drag on for months with no closure for the families.
I'm sorry I couldn't be of more assistance. I don't think you are being gruesome. These are terrifying tragedies and we never know when one will touch any of us. Some of the best people on the planet rally to help the survivors.
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