U.S. Identifies Cable Car Victims
WUERZBURG, Germany (AP) â€” The U.S. military on Monday said three soldiers and five military dependents who made a ski outing over the long Veteran's Day weekend were missing and presumed dead in the Austrian cable car accident.
Officials said family members had been notified that the eight had likely perished, based on witnesses who saw them board the doomed cable car Saturday morning. Positive identification may take weeks.
They included Maj. Michael C. Goodridge, 36, his wife Jennifer, 35, and sons Kyle, 5, and Michael, 7. Goodridge, of Texas, was assigned to the 1st Infantry Division's 4/3 Air Defense Artillery Battalion in Kitzingen, near Wuerzburg.
Also identified were:
â€”2nd Lt. Carrie L. Baker, 23, of Florida, who was assigned to the 30th Medical Brigade's 523rd Dental Services Company in Giebelstadt, near Wuerzburg.
â€”1st Lt. Erich R. Kern, 25, of Dobbs Ferry, N.Y., who was assigned to the 30th Medical Brigade's 421st Air Evacuation Battalion in Wiesbaden, near Frankfurt.
â€”Paul A. Filkil, 46, and his son Ben, 15, U.S. hometown unknown. Filkil's wife, Karen Kearney Filkil, is a civilian assigned to the U.S. Air Forces in Europe Warrior Preparation Center in Einsiedlerhof near Kaiserslautern.
Meanwhile, a military recovery team of five people, including mortuary workers, a forensic dentist and pathologist, were heading to Kaprun, Austria to assist authorities, said Jim Boyle, spokesman for U.S. Army Europe.
The missing were all members of military-affiliated ski clubs, one in Wuerzburg and one near Kaiserslautern, and were taking advantage of the four-day Veteran's Day holiday.
Members of the Wuerzburg ski club who avoided the tragedy were met by counselors and social workers when they returned Sunday to Leighton Barracks in Wuerzburg, home to the U.S. Army's 1st Infantry Division.
``We try to let them know as best as possible that there will be a stress reaction to the event and that's normal,'' said Lt. Col. James Cartwright, chief of social work services at the 67th Combat Support Hospital in Wuerzburg. A group session was planned later in the week, he said, adding most just wanted to go home after the long trip back.
Earlier, the barracks were mostly quiet with many soldiers still away for the long weekend. Identities of the missing still had not been released, and many of those still on base didn't know for whom to grieve.
``I don't know if we know them or not, it's tragic either way,'' said Spc. Rachel Landes.
Bonnie McCarty, whose husband is the most-senior enlisted soldier for the division, said her 20-year-old son belonged to the ski club but had to work so didn't go on the trip.
``I have thought about that family â€” it's been on my mind and I just can't believe it,'' she said as she walked out of a clothing store on the base. ``You go on a ski trip and then you lose your whole family.''