Joint Brazilian and INTERPOL efforts lead to first victim identifications for Air France crash

23 June 2009

LYON, France –  An INTERPOL team is assisting the Brazilian Disaster Victim Identification (DVI) Operation Centre as part of international efforts to identify the victims of the June 1 Air France plane tragedy. This joint identification effort already has led to the positive identification of 11 victims whose remains can now be returned to their families.

The INTERPOL DVI specialists are working alongside the Brazilian team at the National Forensics Institute in Brasilia to act as a liaison point for the international community in the collection of ante-mortem or AM data (such as dental and medical records, fingerprints and DNA) being provided in relation to the 228 victims from 32 countries. The team will also assist the Brazilian Federal Police experts leading the operation at the Forensics Medicine Institute in Recife where the post mortem or PM data from the remains of the recovered victims is being collated.

In line with globally recognised and accepted INTERPOL protocols the PM data will then be compared with the AM data at an Information Management Centre (IMC) established at Recife which will then send proposed matches to the Identification board for official confirmation. The first 11 victims identified using INTERPOL’s internationally recognised DVI standards include eight Brazilians, one Brazilian/German, one Brazilian/Swiss and a British national.

“Our Disaster Victim Identification experts are doing all that they can to ensure that the victims can be identified as quickly and accurately as possible, and INTERPOL’s support in ensuring that our work is integrated with the international community is an important part of this and we welcome their assistance,” said Brazil’s Minister of Justice, Tarso Genro.

The deployment to Brazil is in addition to the officer sent from INTERPOL’s General Secretariat headquarters in Lyon to the French gendarmerie’s crisis centre in Paris where prospective forensic victim identification efforts are also underway.

INTERPOL’s Command and Co-ordination Centre (CCC) in Lyon is also acting as a central liaison between all affected countries providing ante mortem data on victims, to ensure that it is received as quickly as possible by Brazilian investigators.  “The identification of victims in this type of tragedy clearly takes time, but INTERPOL is committed to ensuring that all information and assistance required for this process is made available when and where it is needed,” said INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald K. Noble.

“With France and Brazil accepting direct, on the ground support from INTERPOL and its global network, this international co-ordinated effort can only significantly assist the victim recovery and identification process and thereby the victims’ families,” added Mr Noble.

Air France announced on June 1 that it had lost contact with flight AF 447 from Rio de Janeiro to Paris-Charles de Gaulle, with 216 passengers and 12 crew members on board.