The bodies of the American servicemen killed in last month's aborted attempt to free the U.S. hostages in Iran arrived back in the United States on Tuesday night (6 May).
SV IRAN: Archbishop Capucci blessing coffins at Teheran Airport PAN TO coffins, then TO Iranian soldier back to Archbishop.
SV Tractor pulling coffins to aircraft.
GV Swissair Aircraft arriving to transport bodies.
GV SWITZERLAND: Police vehicle on tarmac at Zurich Airport.
SV Uniformed men laying out black pads for coffin stands.
SV Coffin being unloaded from aircraft.
SV Two coffins on forklift truck, and being placed on stands, PAN ALONG row of nine coffins.
SCU Archbishop Capucci blessing coffins PULL BACK TO LV two coffins.
GV Nine coffins.
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Background: The bodies of the American servicemen killed in last month's aborted attempt to free the U.S. hostages in Iran arrived back in the United States on Tuesday night (6 May). Nine coffins containing the charred remains of the commandos were loaded aboard a military transport in Switzerland after the International Red Cross had formally banded them over to U.S. officials. Greek Catholic Archbishop Capucci, acting as intermediary for the Iranian authorities, accompanied the bodies to Zurich aboard a regular Swissair flight from Teheran on Tuesday (6 May).
SYNOPSIS: Archbishop Capucci said the Iranian authorities had empowered him to take the bodies out of Iran because of his close ties with the revolutionary rulers, and because Ayatollah Khomeini had wanted no political implications in the handover.
After the Iranians had held the bodies for more than a week, the archbishop took them over on Monday (5 May). No American or Iranian authorities attended the short airport ceremony.
Swiss and International Red Cross authorities were waiting in Zurich. Archbishop Capucci was unable to say how many bodies he had brought. He'd seen eight bodies -- the official American figure -- in an Iranian morgue, and further human remains at the sport where a U.S. air transport and helicopter had crashed.
Archbishop Capucci said it was impossible to say whether these remains were another body, or part of the eight in the morgue. The Iranians contended there were nine bodies, and this was the figure on the documents the archbishop signed with the Swiss and Red Cross representatives. The corpses had been put on display at the U.S. Embassy in Teheran, where all the hostages were held since last November until the failed rescue bid.
The Archbishop blessed the bodies in the coffins, which were to be flown out a short time later the same day aborad a U.S. Air Force transport. The nine coffins were said to be a gesture of defence to the Iranian claim that more than eight American had died in the raid.