Six Still Missing After Ramstein Disaster; Death Toll At 52
RAMSTEIN, West Germany (AP) _ The death toll from the Ramstein air show disaster has climbed to 52, and a West German official said Monday that six people reported missing after the fiery tragedy still have not been located.
More than 400 missing person reports were filed within two days after the Aug. 28 air crash, and police have closed almost all of the cases.
″There are six people missing still,″ said Juergen Dietzen, spokesman for Rhineland-Palatinate state, where the U.S. Air Base at Ramstein is located.
But he said that does not mean the six West Germans are victims of the crash.
″Perhaps they went to the air show at Ramstein and then went on holiday without informing anyone,″ Dietzen told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. ″And it’s not even certain they were at the air show.″
West German federal police as well as Interpol, the international police agency, are helping in the search, Dietzen said.
Dietzen said ″a few″ of the people initially reported missing were found among bodies that at first could not be identified. He said others were located among the wounded who were unable to communicate because of their injuries.
He said most of the missing person reports were resolved after those who filed the reports got calls from their relatives saying they were all right.
Meanwhile, another person died on Sunday from severe burns suffered when three Italian fighter planes crashed during an aerial acrobatic display and one of the aircraft plunged into the crowd.
The latest death brings the death toll to 52. The dead include the three Italian pilots involved in the crash, 45 Germans, two Americans, and one victim each from France and the Netherlands.
Dietzen said seven of the fatalities were children, 12 were women and 33 were men. He said 164 people remain hospitalized.
″Thirty of those have serious injuries, and of the 30 some have life- threatening conditions,″ Dietzen told the The Associated Press.
Seven Americans hospitalized at the U.S. Army medical center in nearby Landstuhl are in ″good condition,″ a hospital spokeswoman said.
″They’re able to sit up and talk,″ Landstuhl hospital spokeswoman Marie Shaw told the AP in a telephone interview.
Ms. Shaw could not say when the patients, still being treated for burns, would be released.
An estimated 300,000 spectators were at the U.S. air base’s annual air show when the jets collided.