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Montevideo, October 24th 2021 - 21:06 UTC

 

 

Red Cross team says body parts unearthed from Falkland Islands Darwin cemetery belong to at least five soldiers

Friday, August 20th 2021 - 09:45 UTC
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HPP2 team: Jane Taylor, Fondebrider, head of the Forensic Unit, Corbaz, project manager, John Clark, Mercedes Salado, forensic anthropologist and Derek BeneDix, forensic archaeologist HPP2 team: Jane Taylor, Fondebrider, head of the Forensic Unit, Corbaz, project manager, John Clark, Mercedes Salado, forensic anthropologist and Derek BeneDix, forensic archaeologist
“The weather is always a factor” at the Falkland Islands, Corbaz stressed “The weather is always a factor” at the Falkland Islands, Corbaz stressed
“Five bodies don't always mean five names,” warned Fondebrider during the virtual conference “Five bodies don't always mean five names,” warned Fondebrider during the virtual conference

The International Committee of the Red Cross team working on the identification of Argentine soldiers fallen in the 1982 Falkland/Malvinas Islands conflict Thursday announced at least one additional body had been found at grave C.1.10.

British Colonel Geoffrey Cardoso, who was in charge of burying the Argentine dead, had stated in his 1982 report that the remains of four soldiers had been buried there, one of them believed since then to be of Second Lieutenant Ricardo Sánchez, as per an ID Card.

Former Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team (EAAF) Director and current head of the ICRC's Forensic Unit Luis Fondebrider explained Thursday in a video press conference from the Islands that those miscalculations were likely to happen since the remains consisted of fragments of bodies after the explosion of a Puma Helicopter on May 30, 1982, in Mount Kent.

ICRC mission leader Laurent Corbaz also pointed out that the human bones were in a good state, which will allow for DNA material to be obtained.

According to MercoPress sources, relatives of every crew member of the doomed Gendarmeria Nacional aircraft had supplied DNA samples. Nevertheless, Fondebrider warned that in his line of work “five bodies don't always mean five names.” He added that so far and according to the on-site findings the remains belonged to at least five different people, but it could be more.

In the first stage of this humanitarian mission back in 2017, 115 of 122 bodies could be identified, while seven remained known only to God since their genetic material did not match any sample available in the database.

Fondebrider is expected to carry the skeletal tissue samples next Thursday, August 26, straight to the EAAF's laboratory in the Argentine province of Córdoba, but he was reluctant to say how long it would take before the results are delivered.

Corbaz also asked for caution as to the time of the flight because “the weather in the islands is always a factor.” Asked by MercoPress about the details of the flight in the middle of pandemic restrictions, the ICRC official explained it was going to be a private aeroplane furnished for the occasion by Argentine businessman Eduardo Eurnekian.

The multinational team of experts was due to go Friday to an area known as Teal Inlet to check on rumours that other Argentine soldiers might be buried there. Fondebrider explained that whenever these type of rumours occur, the first thing to do was a geological assessment of the area because whenever man digs for any purpose, traces are to be found almost regardless of the years passed. Otherwise, it would appear as “virgin terrain.”

In 2004, when the Argentine Military Cemetery in Darwin was remodelled, the C.1.10 grave was labelled as containing the bodies of Sanchez as well as those of Air Force Privates Héctor Aguirre, Luis Sevilla and Mario Luna. The Air Force combatants were found in 2017 to be buried in individual graves, which reopened the question of who were the soldiers in tomb C.1.10.

Eurnekian has for years supported the humanitarian efforts at Darwin.

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