2011-06-30 / Local & State

Pa. Forensics Team Headed To Nevada Amtrak Crash

ERIE, Pa. (AP) – A forensic anthropology team from Mercyhurst College in Erie is headed to Nevada to help recover bodies from the crash of a tractor-trailer that smashed into two Amtrak passenger train cars at a railroad crossing.

Dennis Dirkmaat heads the Mercyhurst program and is an expert in recovering human remains from outdoor scenes. He headed recovery efforts when a Continental Express plane crashed near Buffalo, N.Y. in February 2009 and school officials expect he’ll lead the effort to recover the bodies of at least six people killed in the truck-train crash in Sparks, Nev. On Saturday.

Dirkmaat’s team recently created recovery protocols for human remains through research funded by the National Institute of Justice. Dirkmaat expects to use the new procedures in Nevada.

The Mercyhurst team left from Erie International Airport on Sunday morning.

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