Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Cadaver WetVac

Every bit.
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(+5, -7)
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On the news the police in New Orleans make clear that they are not collecting bodies yet. Those corpses will only become harder to collect and identify as time passes in the water. I cannot imagine how one would go about collecting them. Nets? Gloves? It seems to me they would fall apart as you grabbed them. What a mess! But you do need to get the whole body - leaving pieces behind is horrible, disrepectful and unsanitary.

The Cadaver WetVac is for bloated, dissolving corpses such as these. It is a big machine, based in a vehicle. The orifice is big enough in diameter to fit adult shoulders but is flexible and can expand or contract. If corpses are smaller or too distintegrated, one could apply an expanding foam around them where they floated - when this set it would tend to hold things together, and would allow the WetVac to get a good seal and vacuum the whole body up. The corpse, associated fluid and any fragments it broke into would go directly into a watertight body bag.

bungston, Sep 09 2005


       Grim, very grim. The idea has obvious merit and certainly serves a pressing current need, but I would have thought that a device more similar to a large rectangular human-sized aquarium fishnet made of gauzy nylon would be both more practical for forensic purposes and more respectful of the dead.
jurist, Sep 09 2005

       Daren't disagree with that... but I have to say, this is a nasty solution to a nastier problem.
david_scothern, Sep 09 2005

       I respect the troubles you are going through; living in the UK I doubt we can fully comprehend the magnitude of the disaster, although it looks pretty darn big from over here. Apologies if a lack of sensitivity on my part caused offence.
david_scothern, Sep 09 2005

       It's always easy to be flippant about something that isn't on your doorstep, I have done this many times. Hope things get steadily better for you [scout].
wagster, Sep 09 2005

       This was not meant to be flip. I edited it some in case it appeared that way. It might seem like gallows humor but this is a real problem: no joke. Someone needs to collect the bodies and there has to be a method. I started thinking about this at the time of tsunami, when there was similar trouble with water retrieval of corpses. A search for floater / corpse / retrieval finds other reports of mass water deaths in which people are relucatant to retrieve the bodies because of their condition, and so they remain in the water. It is a nasty job but must be done. The proposed method uses a machine to make retrieval as complete as possible, and also as hygienic as possible for the workers who do it.
bungston, Sep 09 2005

       Yeeauuk. Those enormous siphons in the city and what body surfing is already happening. (-) Soylent Green and all.
reensure, Sep 10 2005

       I''ll withdraw my previous post, since you edited, and for your intent. I can not give you a + though, cause I'm giving that to scout!
blissmiss, Sep 10 2005


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