Crash of Flight 5191

Most of the bodies have been identified

All 49 victims of Sunday's plane crash in Lexington have been positively identified, and all but 11 have been turned over to the Fayette County coroner's office for release to families, Gov. Ernie Fletcher said at a news conference yesterday.

But Fayette County Coroner Gary Ginn said late last night that only 46 bodies had been positively identified and dental records for three others were delivered to the examiner's office yesterday.

State medical examiner Tracey Corey said the 11 need additional tests for autopsy reports, which should be completed within the next couple of days.

Corey and Fletcher announced the work of the examiner's office at a news conference yesterday afternoon at the state Central Laboratory, where the bodies were taken by Sunday evening.

Corey said the causes of death varied, as would be expected in a plane crash.

She said causes of death include blunt trauma and fire-related injuries, such as smoke inhalation and burns.

She said the final autopsy reports of the victims will be available in six to eight weeks.

She declined to discuss specifics of the cases, but said toxicology tests generally are performed at every autopsy.

Fletcher, a physician, said some of the victims had high levels of carbon monoxide.

Ginn will be contacting families about the release of the bodies, Corey said.

She said the bodies will remain at the state lab until Ginn says differently.

Corey said the task of identifying the bodies "has been a challenging undertaking." Most of the identifications were made from dental records, she said.

As for the remaining 11 not yet released from her office, she said, additional tests will include blood and DNA analysis. She would not say exactly why more tests were needed.

Fletcher also was asked about a permanent memorial for the victims.

He said the land where the crash occurred is private property but there will be discussions about such a memorial.

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