CORK, Ireland A body was recovered Friday from the wreckage of the Air India jetliner that crashed off the Irish coast four months ago with the loss of 329 lives, a crash investigator said.

It was a total surprise to us all,” Canadian Coast Guard Capt. Donald McGarvey said after the body was found in a section of the fuselage hoisted more than one mile from the Atlantic seabed to the surface.

It was the first discovery of a body in the jetliner’s wreckage since the initial search operation in the days following the June 23 crash of the Boeing 747, the third worst disaster in civil aviation history.

McGarvey said the body was found in a section of fuselage from the front passenger area.

“We did not realize beforehand that the item of wreckage contained anything other than normal fittings,” McGarvey said.

All of the 131 bodies found before Friday have been identified.

McGarvey, a member of the Canadian team heading the investigation for the Indian government, said the body was being taken to Cork for examination. He said the age and sex of the body had not yet been determined.

The aircraft, which was on its way from Toronto and Montreal, Canada, to Bombay India, plun


ged into the sea 120 miles off the southwestern coast of Ireland. Although the Indian government initially blamed the crash on a bomb, examinations of flight recorders and wreckage have failed to produce evidence to pinpoint the cause, investigators say.

Since Oct. 9, two Canadian vessels have been raising pieces of wreckage from the seabed in an effort to determine the cause of the crash.

“We will be continuing our recovery program for the foreseeable future,” the investigator said. “The weather is good and our efforts have not been hampered in the slightest.”

Article extracted from this publication >>  November 1, 1985