Forensic Evidence Regarding Air Indiaflight 182

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The in-flight disintegration of the Kanishka, most of the aircraft came to rest on the ocean floor almost 7,000 feet below the surface. During the accident investigation that followed, the submerged wreckage was surveyed, photographed, videotaped and pieces were recovered off the ocean floor. Floating wreckage was also recovered and examined. Each piece was given a unique number called “target”. Target means that specific parts of planes were to be destroyed. When the RCMP returned to the crashed site for two subsequent salvage operations in 1989 and 1991 during which further underwater video footage was captured and further wreckage was recovered. The 465 targets observed on
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Bart Blachford, the RCMP member with primary conduct of the forensic investigation into the explosion of the Kanishka. The underwater images of many of the unrecovered targets were converted into computer aided design (“CAD”) images, which in turn were used to simulate certain important targets from the aft fuselage of the aircraft. Under the supervision of the RCMP, these simulated targets were assembled with the actual recovered wreckage in a partial reconstruction of the Kanishka at a warehouse in the Lower Mainland as an aid to understanding the technical expert evidence regarding the destruction of the aircraft. Experts presented portions of their evidence at this warehouse during the trial and referred extensively to the reconstruction in demonstrating their respective theories. The significance of this expert evidence lies primarily in their differing opinions regarding the location of the bomb that precipitated the destruction of the Kanishka. The Crown theory, supported by the opinion evidence of Professor Christopher Peel, is that it was located in Baggage Area 52, which contained the M. Singh bag. The defence theory, supported by the opinion evidence of Dr. Edward Trimble and Mr. Frank Taylor, is that it was located some five feet forward of that location in Baggage Area 51, containing luggage checked in at Toronto. A conclusion that the defence evidence raises a reasonable doubt with respect to the Crown’s bomb location would fundamentally undermine
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