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Titanic victims disturbed for DNA test

Jan 1, 2003

Amid much controversy and discussion, three unidenti-fied victims of the Titanic disaster had their eternal slumber temporarily suspended in May 2001, when their graves were opened at a Halifax, Nova Scotia, graveyard. The remains, those of a man about 24 years of age, a child of two and woman of about 30, were recovered at sea and brought to Halifax for burial shortly after the April 15, 1912, disaster, along with 147 other victims of Titanic’s sinking. The exhumations were permitted to allow retrieval of DNA samples from the remains to aid their identification and hopefully provide some closure (more than 89 years after the fact) for the families. Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s medical officer, approved the unusual procedure after requests were made by three unidentified family groups interested in learning if these unfortunate Titanic passengers might be their long-lost kin. A specialist from the Paleo-DNA lab at Lakehead University took the samples, and the remains were reburied. Early results suggested that two graves failed to yield usable DNA samples.


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