Fake doctor probed deadly crash in Namibia

12 April 2019 | Accidents

JANA-MARI SMITH



A 58-year-old man who worked with Namibian forensic teams to identify the victims of the Mozambican LAM flight crash five years ago in the Zambezi Region has been sentenced to 21 months behind bars in the Netherlands for admitting to fake medical credentials.

A Dutch court this month sentenced Peter Bon who was convicted for fraud and falsifying medical qualifications and other documents, after working on at least two international flight accident sites globally, including Namibia, as a qualified forensic pathologist.

Bon was in Namibia in early 2014 as a team member of Kenyon International Emergency Services, who were contracted by LAM Mozambique Airlines to assist Namibian forensic teams to identify the victims of the fatal TM470 that crashed in Bwabwata National Park on 29 November 2013.

An April 2014 Kenyon International newsletter said the company’s team members, including the convicted fake pathologist, joined other international experts in Namibia, and “helped identify 31 of the 33 people on board flight TM470”.

Nicknamed ‘Dr Bones’, Bon described his professional motto as “I open corpses to close cases!”

In a 2014 newsletter Kenyon said Bon had begun work as a new team member since November 2013 as “both a Supervisor Disaster Victim Identification forensic pathologist and a Senior Incident Director (SID).”

His work with the TM470 forensic teams in Namibia was his first deployment with the company.

Yesterday, Kenyon spokesperson Donald Steel told Namibian Sun Bon had “provided support services to Kenyon on a brief freelance basis for two short periods in 2014/15. In these instances, he worked as part of a larger and experienced team.”

Steel said Bon’s duties were in a supportive capacity “which did not require a medically licensed person, and were always overseen by government organisations. At no point was he responsible for the formal identification of individuals”.

Following his stint as a team member in Namibia, a senior colleague described Bon in a newsletter, as “the quiet one” who helped colleagues working with him in Namibia to “understand the processes involved more”.

The colleague said with the assistance he showed to the Namibian forensic teams, LAM officials and embassies during his posting in Namibia he had demonstrated “the necessary skill and dedication”.

In 2015, he was part of team deployed to assist the investigation on the Germanwings Flight 9525 airplane crash site in France, according to several international reports during his trial.

In his online biography Bon claimed he had worked with the forensics department in the Netherlands police and was also, “with my medical degree and degrees in forensics”, selected to work with the Ministry of Defence in Special Ops in the Netherlands.

He added that he had trained for “high risk security and safety missions”.

Dutch media this month reported Bon was sentenced to 21 months in jail, of which six months were suspended and a five-year probation period given, after he admitted to his forgeries and fraud.

It emerged during his trial that he was trained as an autopsy assistant and never obtained higher medical qualifications.

Apart from being employed by the international disaster response firm, he also guest-lectured and was an examiner at the Dutch police academy.

International media further reported that his scam was so successful he was appointed as of the National Professional Association of Autopsy Assistants.

Speaking to the media, the association said his substantial knowledge of medical matters obscured his false credentials believably.

It was reported that his deception was uncovered in 2015, when suspicions were raised after colleagues saw he was unable to take a patient’s blood pressure.

Namibian Sun approached local authorities for comment on the story. By the time of going to print no response had been received.

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