Fatal steamer accident; blunt force injuries and drowning in post-mortem MSCT and MRI.

Aghayev, Emin; Thali, Michael J; Sonnenschein, Martin; Hurlimann, Joachim; Jackowski, Christian; Kilchoer, Thomas; Dirnhofer, Richard (2005). Fatal steamer accident; blunt force injuries and drowning in post-mortem MSCT and MRI. Forensic science international, 152(1), pp. 65-71. Elsevier Scientific Publ. Ireland 10.1016/j.forsciint.2005.02.034

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Steamer accidents, through contact with the bucket wheel, are very seldom today. No publication of such a kind of fatal accident could be found in literature. We present the case of a fatal steamer accident, in which the findings of a blunt traumatization of a person by the ship was completely documented by post-mortem combined multi-slice computed tomography (MSCT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) examinations. A rupture of the aorta was detected using both radiological methods without use of radiopaque material. Radiological examination revealed a comminuted fracture of the thorax vertebrae at the same level as the aortic rupture. Injuries of the soft tissues of the back, caused by the bucket wheel of the steamer, were also diagnosed. In addition to the signs of blunt force trauma the findings of drowning such as an over inflation of the lungs, fluid in the stomach and duodenum were revealed. Furthermore, algological analysis detected diatoms in the lung tissue and blood from the left heart. Therefore, the cause of death was considered being a combination of fatal hemorrhage, caused by the aortic rupture, and drowning. We conclude that virtual autopsy using combined post-mortem MSCT and MRI is a useful tool for documentation, visualisation and analysis of the findings of blunt force trauma and drowning with a large potential in forensic medicine.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Further Contribution)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Service Sector > Institute of Legal Medicine
04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > Institute for Evaluative Research into Orthopaedic Surgery

UniBE Contributor:

Aghayev, Emin; Jackowski, Christian and Dirnhofer, Richard


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health




Elsevier Scientific Publ. Ireland




Antoinette Angehrn

Date Deposited:

05 Nov 2015 12:54

Last Modified:

19 Nov 2015 11:00

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