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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 200472 Find in a Library
Title: Investigation of Italy's Deadliest Building Collapse: Forensic Aspects of a Mass Disaster
Journal: Journal of Forensic Sciences  Volume:48  Issue:3  Dated:May 2003  Pages:635-642
Author(s): Carlo P. Campobasso M.D.; Rosa Falamingo M.D.; Francesco Vinci M.D.
Date Published: May 2003
Page Count: 8
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This paper reports on the investigation of the 1999 collapse of an apartment building in Foggia, Italy, with attention to the cause of the accidents, the identification of victims, and the cause and manner of death.
Abstract: In the early morning of November 11, 1999, a 30-year-old, six-story apartment building in Foggia collapsed, killing many of the sleeping residents and others who were attempting to escape. Soon after this disaster, the state attorney assigned two groups of experts to investigate it: engineers who were tasked with determining the cause of the accident and pathologists who were responsible for determining victims' identifications and the causes and manners of death. This paper focuses on the postmortem examinations, the injury distribution, and the materials and methods used to determine the nature of injuries. Over 4 days, 62 bodies were examined. The majority of the bodies were identified visually and/or by comparing body features (scars, dental or orthopedic prostheses, previous surgeries, etc.) and/or clothing or personal effects with information previously collected from relatives or friends. One of the two burned bodies (due to a gas explosion in the course of the building collapse) was identified by dental records and the other by DNA analysis. Autopsies were performed on 34 bodies. Thirty-one of the victims died quickly due to the severity of their injuries; 29 people died of mechanical asphyxia due to pressure on the chest and abdomen that restricted breathing. Significant trauma was observed in most of the bodies, with multiple regions of the body often involved. This report includes data on injuries obtained from the New Injury Severity Score (NISS) systems, as well as the Abbreviated Injury Scale. The paper concludes with a discussion of the use of trauma-scoring systems in autopsies as of great value in accident reconstruction. 4 figures, 5 tables, and 16 references
Main Term(s): Police emergency procedures
Index Term(s): Death investigations; Disaster procedures; Forensic sciences; Italy; Medical evaluation; Victim identification; Victims in foreign countries
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