O0041 - Crash of the Flight 4U 9525 (Germanwings): DVI operations

PS05 - Disaster Victim Identification (DVI) and Road Safety

Date :
Wednesday 29th August          


Schedule :
14h00 - 14h20

Job title of the first author :

DVI Coordinator, IRCGN


On March 24th, 2015, an Airbus A320 of the company Germanwings (flight 4U 9525) crashed in the Alps of the Haute-Provence, (Prads-Haute-Bléone, France). 144 passengers and 6 crew members died in this accident due to a voluntary act of the co-pilot(navigator). The authorities deployed hundreds of agents: fire brigades, gendarmes, (specialists of high mountain, anti-riot, DVI), policemen. Helicopters of the Gendarmerie, the Civil defense and the Army were deployed (no flying zone, search, transport of the DVI team to the site, transport of body remains), aircrafts of the Air Force (radio and reconnaissance flight).
The DVI Gendarmerie team (UGIVC) arrived the tomorrow early morning to join this impressive crisis response plan to identify victims of the crash complying with Interpol protocol. It received assistance of the DVI Police, the Institute of forensic medicine of Marseille and different local crime scene investigation units (CSI).
The operations of recovery of bodies and human remains were made difficult in mountain environment (phase 1). They required the use of helicopters and specialists of high mountain platoon.
A temporary mortuary was settled nearby the site of the crash to run post-mortem examinations. Thousands of samples and examinations were performed (Phase 2) in "rustic" conditions with dental X-rays, restructuring of hands, DNA analyses… These works lead to further AM/PM comparisons (DNA, dental, or fingerprints) in the laboratory.
Meanwhile, an ante-mortem cell was activated in the laboratory (IRCGN, Rosny-sous-Bois, France).
It received the assistance of liaison officers of Interpol, Spain and Germany. Others DVI teams also proposed to assist (Phase 3).
In May, 2015, an identification commission stated on the identification of the 150 victims.
It was followed by a last operation of human remains assembling.
The repatriation of 150 identified bodies started and lasted until the end of July.
Within 2 months this mission was achieved.


Disaster victim identification



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