INTERPOL to help co-ordinate international efforts to identify Air France crash victims

9 June 2009

LYON, France - INTERPOL is to provide assistance in co-ordinating international efforts to identify the victims of the June 1 Air France plane tragedy in which 228 people from 32 countries lost their lives.

An officer from the Command and Co-ordination Centre (CCC) at the INTERPOL General Secretariat headquarters in Lyon has been deployed to the French gendarmerie’s crisis centre in Paris where France’s Institut de recherche criminelle de la gendarmerie nationale (IRCGN) is handling the prospective forensic victim identification efforts which will be based on INTERPOL’s internationally accepted Disaster Victim Identification (DVI) protocols.

With a number of human remains from the crash already recovered, Disaster Victim Identification will involve the collection of post mortem or PM data from the recovered remains such as fingerprints, tattoos, surgical implants, and dental x-rays, which are then compared with ante-mortem or AM data; dental and medical records, fingerprints and DNA recovered from the victims’ homes or provided by family members.

“Since the victims of this tragedy came from all parts of the globe, international collaboration will be essential in ensuring their accurate, dignified and speedy recovery and identification so as to enable the families to begin the healing process,“ said INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald K. Noble.

“In any major tragedy, a co-ordinated effort by the international community will significantly speed up the victim recovery and identification process and INTERPOL is uniquely placed to provide this support to each of our member countries involved,“ Mr Noble said.

In addition to deploying its officer to the crisis centre in Paris, INTERPOL’s General Secretariat headquarters remains in permanent contact with Brazilian authorities via its National Central Bureau in Brasilia to co-ordinate all forms of assistance and international liaison with any of the Organization’s 187 member countries.

Responding to disasters and recovery efforts is not new to INTERPOL. Following the tsunami in Southeast Asia in December 2004, INTERPOL deployed Incident Response Teams to the affected areas and also provided DVI support to the Philippine authorities after the Typhoon Frank ferry disaster in June 2008, where a partnership with the International Commission on Missing Persons ensured that state-of-the-art DNA matching processes were used to identify the recovered victims.

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.