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Forensic Sci Med Pathol. 2012 Jun;8(2):118-24. doi: 10.1007/s12024-011-9307-9. Epub 2012 Jan 1.

Disaster victim identification-experiences of the "Autobahn A19" disaster.

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Institute of Legal Medicine, University of Rostock, St.-Georg-Str. 108, 18055, Rostock, Germany.


The chain reaction pile-up on the multilane highway ("Autobahn") A 19 in April 2011 was regarded as the most severe traffic accident within the last 20 years in Germany. The situation worsened when 34 of the 83 involved vehicles caught fire. As a result of this crash, 8 high-grade heat-damaged victims were found. The victim identification algorithm of the IDKO (Identification Commission of the German Federal Office of Criminal Investigation) was applied as the standard tool for forensic mass disaster evaluation. This approach included inspection of the body at the scene, post-mortem CT-scan with 3-D reconstruction, and full autopsy with toxicological examinations and DNA-analyses. As a result of the investigations we were able to identify all 8 victims. Independent of successful victim identification according to IDKO standards, the exact sequence of events and cause of death remained unclear in some of the victims.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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