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Thursday, 7 November, 2002, 02:22 GMT
Titanic's baby victim identified
The ship sank on 15 April 1912
More than 1,000 people died in the disaster

Scientists in Canada using DNA testing have identified the remains of a baby boy who was one of the victims of the Titanic disaster.


To see how excited these families were and to be able to identify a part of their past, their legacy, their history, was really fun and exciting

Dr Ryan Parr
The luxury liner, built in Belfast, was on its way from Southampton to New York when it sank on 15 April 1912 with the loss of 1503 passengers and crew.

The young boy was found dead floating in the icy waters of the North Atlantic six days after the disaster.

He was buried in a grave in Halifax, Nova Scotia, which was dedicated to 'the unknown child'.

Living proof

He had become a symbol of one of the world's most memorable disasters.

He was buried in a cemetery on the outskirts of Halifax with a 150 other Titanic victims.

Titanic
The Titanic now rests on the seabed
Now the mystery of who the toddler was has been answered by scientists who have been testing the remains at Lakehead University in Ontario.

The boy was 13-month old Eino Panula and his DNA has been matched to living family members in Finland.

The child was one of five being taken by his mother to the United States to start a new life. The father was there waiting for them.

Reburial

When scientists exhumed the remains of the grave last year they found only a wrist bone and three teeth.

The ability to successfully complete the DNA testing on remains nearly a century old is quite remarkable.

Dr Ryan Parr led the scientific investigation. He says it was the living descendents of the family who made it all worthwhile.

"It's that human element. To see how excited these families were and to be able to identify a part of their past, their legacy, their history, was really fun and exciting. That became more important I think than the science," he said.

The remains of Eino Panula will be reburied in his original resting place.

His surviving family members say they do not want him to be returned to Finland but given back to the people of Halifax who have looked after him all this time.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Lee Carter
"The unidentified baby boy had become a symbol of one of the world's most memorable disasters"
See also:

22 Jun 02 | Africa
15 Apr 02 | England
14 Apr 02 | UK
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