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Alaska Airlines Victims Identified

February 17, 2000

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ The remains of two more victims of Alaska Airlines Flight 261 were identified Wednesday as the medical examiner’s office worked on providing death certificates to the families of all 88 people killed in the crash.

A total of 49 victims’ remains have been identified since the Jan. 31 crash off Southern California, said Barbara Brodfuehrer, spokeswoman for the Ventura County medical examiner. No remains have been recovered since Feb. 7.

California law does not allow death certificates to be issued unless remains are recovered and identified. The certificates are required before next of kin can access banking accounts, collect insurance, transfer property or execute wills.

On Tuesday, the Ventura County Board of Supervisors voted to authorize a court petition on behalf of the families of the victims. If the petition is accepted, a judge will issue death certificates even for crash victims whose remains have not been recovered or identified.

The investigation into the cause of the crash is focused on the component that moves the horizontal stabilizer, a tail-mounted wing that controls the plane’s up-and-down movement.

Pilots reported trouble with the device before the jetliner nose-dived into the Pacific, and pieces pulled from the wreckage indicated unusual wear on a nut that anchors the jackscrew, which moves the stabilizer.

Investigators have not determined whether the damage contributed to the crash or was caused by the impact.

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