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The BBC's Ben Brown
"There will be DNA tests to confirm that this is the body of Campbell"
 real 56k

Gina Campbell and Bill Smith
Donald Campbell's daughter and the diver who lead the recovery operation talk about the emotions of the salvage operation
 real 56k

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

Tuesday, 29 May, 2001, 07:22 GMT 08:22 UK
DNA tests on Bluebird body
Bluebird
The Bluebird was on a record-breaking attempt
DNA tests are underway on what are thought to be the human remains of Donald Campbell, who died 34 years ago when his Bluebird speedboat crashed in the Lake District.

Cumbria police say some results could be back within days although it could be four weeks before scientists at Furness General Hospital, Barrow-in-Furness, can formally identify the remains.

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


I've spent 34 years looking at the water and wondering

Gina Campbell
The dramatic and emotional discovery of the remains, which were lifted from Coniston Water in Cumbria at 1350BST on Monday, was witnessed by Campbell's daughter Gina.

Ms Campbell said she was "totally convinced" her father had been found and,told BBC Breakfast News the discovery "was a great finish to 34 years of undone business".

Describing her father as a "great hero", she said: "To witness the box being draped with the unon flag, there was a huge pain at that moment of realisation but it was quickly overcome with pride and respect for my dad and Bill Smith and his great team of divers."

'At peace'

She said it had been necessary to recover her father's body, adding: "How can you pay your respects when they are lying in 150ft of water. I would like to see my father buried in the normal way.

"I've spent 34 years looking at the water and wondering, hating going to Coniston because I did not know where he was. Now I'm much more at peace."

The remains were placed in a blue box and draped in a Union Jack flag before being brought to the shore.

Donald Campbell
Campbell came from a family of speed record-breakers
The diver in charge of the team which salvaged 45-year-old Campbell's wrecked speedboat described the moment the remains were found as "special".

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."

He said the team had overcome "deep and dark conditions" over a long winter of work.

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

Crash site

Some of 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.

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."

Capbell's wife Tabia Bern-Campbell at the raising of the Bluebird in March
The Bluebird was raised by the search team in March
A scenes of crime police officer took samples for analysis as the remains were taken to hospital.

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

Campbell 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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