Remains found underwater in Greece may be those of Americans
October 19, 2006
KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — Human remains found in an underwater cave in Greece this month are suspected of being those of three Americans — two of them U.S. servicemembers — who disappeared 28 years ago.
The three went missing on Sept. 9, 1978, after a recreational dive in Vouliagmeni Lake near Athens.
Greek pathologists are trying to determine if the remains are those of Air Force Sgt. Donald Michaud, 32, Airman 1st Class Jan Granroth, 20, and her brother, Mark, 21, said Capt. Jennifer Lovett, a spokeswoman at U.S. Air Forces in Europe headquarters at Ramstein Air Base in Germany.
A group of Greek divers on Friday retrieved bones and a wet suit on two separate dives this summer. They found a third set of remains in the underwater cave on Oct. 6, according to a U.S. State Department official who did not want to be identified.
“The assumption is that these are the Americans and, of course, the Air Force is hopeful that they are so we can bring closure to their families,” Lovett said.
The airmen were stationed at Hellenikon, a base used by the U.S. Air Force at the time of their disappearance. It has been believed for years that they died on the dive trip to the underwater caves, which are known for their strong currents and dangerous conditions.
Greek pathologists will try to identify the fossilized bones before possibly turning them over to the Air Force.
“When the Greeks finish their identification process and determine the remains are not Greek, then they’ll turn those remains over to the United States,” Lovett said. That could take several weeks, she added.
The families of the missing Americans have been notified that remains have been found and scientists are trying to positively identify them through DNA testing. It is suspected the remains are the missing American divers because the type of dive equipment found with the bones is American-made.
Another reason the remains are believed to be those of the Americans is because only four people are known to have died in the sea tunnels. In 1990, a Greek diver trying to take pictures of where the missing American divers died, according to Greek news reports.