Application of DNA Profiling in Resolving Aviation Forensic Toxicology Issues
FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION OKLAHOMA CITY OK CIVIL AEROSPACE MEDICAL INST
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Biological samples from the victims of aviation accidents are submitted to the Civil Aerospace Medical Institute CAMI for toxicological evaluation. Body components of aviation accident fatalities are often scattered, disintegrated, commingled, contaminated, andor putrefied at accident scenes. These situations may impose difficulties in victim identification and tissue matching, thereby in the toxicological analysis of authentic samples and the interpretation of the associated analytical results. The use of DNA typing has been exemplified in the literature to resolve the sample misidentification issue. However, the prevalence of this type of issue in relation to aviation accident forensic toxicology has not been well-established. Therefore, the CAMI toxicology database was searched for the period of 1998-2008 for those accidentscases wherein DNA profiling was performed. During this period, samples from 3523 accidents were received by CAMI. Of these, there were 3366 aviation accidents wherein at least one fatality had occurred. Biological samples from a total of 3319 pilots were received. Of these, 3275 were fatally injured. The 3319 pilots translated into the equivalent number of aviation accidents. Of the 3319 accidents, there were only 15 0.5 accidents wherein DNA profiling was performed on the biological samples. Six occupants four fatalities and two injured victims were involved in one accident and five two fatalities and three injured victims in another. Three fatalities occurred in three accidents each, two fatalities in eight accidents each, and one fatality in one accident. In one accident, there were two occupants with non-fatal injuries. DNA profiling was conducted upon the requests of families in two accidents, of accident investigators in three, and of pathologists in four. In six accidents, contradictory toxicological findings--such as selective presence of analytes in samples--CAMI laboratory to initiate DNA profiling.
- Military Aircraft Operations
- Civilian Aircraft
- Safety Engineering