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The BBC's Terry Stiasny
"It was not until March this year that the wreckage of the bluebird was raised by a salvage team"
 real 56k

Vicky Slowe of the Ruskin Museum in Coniston
"It seems right and proper that the remains are raised"
 real 56k

Monday, 28 May, 2001, 21:40 GMT 22:40 UK
Tests on Bluebird body
Bluebird accident
Bluebird somersaulted out of control at 297mph
Samples from human remains found near the site of Donald Campbell's Bluebird speedboat crash in the Lake District have been sent for DNA analysis.

Tests are to be carried out to establish if the remains, which were lifted from Coniston Water in Cumbria at 1350BST on Monday, are those of Campbell. It may take up to four weeks for a formal identification.

The diver in charge of the team which salvaged Campbell's wrecked speedboat described as "special" the moment that the remains were found and recovered from the site.

Campbell's daughter Gina Campbell, was present at the time.


We knew that if we carried on identifying every single piece from the accident that sooner or later we would find him

Bill Smith
search team leader
Team leader Bill Smith told BBC News Online: "Gina very much wanted her father out of the lake.

"If that's what we've been able to achieve, we've done a good job."

Donald Campbell was trying to break his own water speed record of 276mph on 4 January, 1967, when the boat vaulted from the surface and somersaulted repeatedly before crashing, killing him instantly.

Contingency plan

Mr Smith and his team raised Bluebird in March amid global publicity.

Some of the 45-year-old Campbell's clothes, including his helmet, shoes, lifejacket and teddy bear mascot were recovered at the time but his body was not found.

Since then, Mr Smith and his team have continued to locate and map debris around the crash site.

Donald Campbell with bear mascot
Campbell with his bear mascot
He stressed that only tests would confirm that the remains are those of Campbell but added: "We knew that if we carried on identifying every single piece from the accident that sooner or later we would find him."

A contingency plan had been arranged with the local coroner for how a body should be handled.

The remains were placed in a container and covered with a Union Flag as a mark of respect while they were being raised from the lakebed.

Formal identification

A scenes of crime police officer took samples for analysis before the remains were taken to Furness General Hospital in Barrow-in-Furness.

A police spokesman said: "The results should be due back some time in the next few days."

Mr Smith refused to go into precise details about what had been found but he estimated it would take up to four weeks for a formal identification to be made.

Union Flag on tail fin of the Bluebird
Bluebird's tail fin still bore a Union Flag
Dental records and DNA tests may be used in the process.

A post-mortem examination is due to take place, possibly on Tuesday, to try to find the cause of death.

Campbell's last words are reputed to have been "A complete accident. No details. Over," shouted over his radio link to the shore.

He came from a dynasty of world speed record breakers. His father Sir Malcolm Campbell set the land speed record in 1935.

Last year, Sir Malcolm's grandson, and Donald's nephew, Don Wales, broke the British land-speed record for an electrically-powered car.

  • A film crew has been following the recovery of Bluebird for the BBC. A special programme 'A British Legend - the Search for Bluebird' will be screened on BBC One on 7 June.

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See also:

08 Mar 01 | UK
Divers salvage the Bluebird
04 Feb 01 | UK
Divers find Bluebird wreck
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