The role of forensic anthropology in the examination of the daegu subway disaster (2003, Korea)

Dae Kyoon Park, Kyung Ho Park, Jeong Sik Ko, Yi Suk Kim, Nak Eun Chung, Yong Woo Ahn, Seung Ho Han

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Meticulous recovery of victims in the Daegu subway disaster was possible, because charred and fragmented victims were left in situ. Because bodies were piled one over another within the train, appropriate methodology during the recovery was critical to identifying the victims. The disaster area was thoroughly documented with notes, photographs, and schematic drawings of the various locations. The recovery team, comprising two medical examiners and one forensic anthropologist, decided when charred body parts and cremated bones were linked to the same individual based on the anatomy and forensic anthropological examination. Without these recovery procedures, it would not have been possible to efficiently harvest representative DNA sample from most of the victims' body parts. After the entire process of identification, 136 victims were positively identified, and six victims remained unidentified. This study supports the crucial role of forensic anthropologists in the recovery of victims, especially in fire scenes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)513-518
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Forensic Sciences
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2009


  • Disaster
  • Fire scenes
  • Forensic anthropology
  • Forensic science
  • Identification
  • Recovery


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