After an accident, it is understandable that the families and relatives of those lost would want their bodies and remains to be returned as quickly as possible. However, as in the case of the recent Metrojet accident over the Sinai, bodies can bring important clues to the on-going technical investigation into the causes of the tragedy. For example, in case of an explosion on board an aircraft, forensic analysis of burns or particles on the bodies can provide evidence of an explosive material and also which kind of explosive, if any, could have been used. Or provide other factual and vital elements for a thorough investigation. While emotionally difficult for families not to have their loved ones swiftly returned, an early repatriation can deprive investigators of these extremely important elements
It is everyone’s interest to ensure that the truth about the causes comes out, whatever it is. This is as true for the grieving families who will want to understand why their beloved ones have died, as it is for the travelling public and for all the air transport stakeholders. This allows them to take appropriate preventive actions to avoid the repeat of such a tragedy. This is what has allowed air transport to be the safest means of transportation.
The Authorities who are depriving the investigators of such vital clues by prematurely returning the bodies to the families prior to such a detailed analysis, are rendering a disservice to the relatives of the victims, the travelling public and the industry.