Body of Israeli astronaut identified among remains

by Times Of India


AP[ WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 05, 2003 01:41:07 PM ]

JERUSALEM: The remains of Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon have been found among the wreckage of the space shuttle Columbia and will be brought to Israel for burial, the Israeli army said on Wednesday. Nasa officials informed representatives of the Israeli army that the body of Ramon had been identified, the army said in a statement. The remains will be brought to Israel for a funeral in the coming days.

"This is a relief to all of us, especially the family," said Brig. Gen. Rani Falk, an Israeli air force attaché in Washington. "Nasa informed us officially that Ilan Ramon, may his name be blessed, was identified, and we can bring him for burial in Israel in the coming days."

Ramon's body was one of four sets of remains that have been positively identified, Israel Radio reported. The DNA and jaw bone of Ramon's body were checked to ensure that they were indeed his, the radio said.

Israel had sent four ultra-Orthodox specialists to aide Nasa in searching for the remains of the astronauts, which were scattered near the Texas-Louisiana state line. According to Jewish law, all parts of a Jewish person must be buried. If the body is not found, a funeral is not possible.