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Family given 'wrong remains' after Spain disaster

  • Story Highlights
  • Relatives of Spanair crash victim given the wrong remains, CNN+ reports
  • Initial probe finds family given the wrong urn, not the body was wrongly identified
  • Spanair flight crashed during take off last week from Madrid airport
  • 154 died, 18 survivors still in hospitals, two injured released from hospital
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MADRID, Spain (CNN) -- Relatives of a woman killed in a Spanish airline crash were erroneously given the remains of another victim, and then were asked by authorities to return them, CNN partner network CNN+ reported Thursday.

The victims of the crash were first laid out at a Madria convention center.

The victims of the crash were first laid out at a Madria convention center.

A Madrid judge has opened an investigation into the error, and judicial sources say the initial indication is that the mixup occurred not in the proper identification of the victim, but in delivering the wrong remains to the family in question, CNN+ reported.

The family Wednesday received an urn numbered 104, and were told it contained the ashes of their loved one, Pilar Gonzalez Ferreira, who died in the crash.

But as the family was preparing to leave Madrid, officials called to tell them about the error and asked for the return of urn 104, CNN+ reported.

Instead of urn 104, the family was supposed to have received urn 134, which actually contains the remains of Pilar Gonzalez, CNN+ reported, citing judicial sources and another family which also lost a relative in the crash.

The Spanair MD82 jet crashed last week at Madrid's airport as the plane was trying to take off, killing 154 people.

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The aircraft, bound for Spain's Canary Islands, managed to rise only slightly before coming down quickly to the right of the runway, its tail section hitting the ground first, just off the asphalt.

Then the out-of-control plane skidded and bounced at least three times as it careered 1,200 meters (3,840 feet) across uneven terrain and exploded, coming to rest in a gully, a top official of the investigative commission told a news conference in Madrid on Tuesday.

Many of the bodies were badly charred from the fire, and authorities have used DNA samples to carry out numerous identifications.

By Thursday, 126 victims had been identified, CNN+ reported.

Just a few dozen families are still waiting to receive the remains their loved ones. Most are gathered at a Madrid hotel near the airport.

Nineteen people initially survived the crash, but one died in hospital last weekend.


Fourteen survivors remain hospitalized in Madrid; one had returned to her native Sweden for further hospitalization there, and another was in a hospital in the Canary Islands.

Two other survivors, including a six-year-old boy, were released from hospital earlier this week.

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