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Last Updated on September 6, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 741

It was clear from the start that in order for investigators to reconstruct what took place, they would have to surrender ideas of exactness. Settle instead for as close a representation as humanly possible. To piece the story together, they would use a method known as "triangulation." A combination of evidence, eyewitness accounts, and good old-fashioned instinct. In the end, no matter the information gathered, some guesswork would also play a role.

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When the plane crashed at Los Gatos, technology was not as advanced as it is now, and record-keeping wasn't as stringent. The identities of the people who died on the plane, and ways to contact their relatives, were largely unknown. Most of them were farmworkers being deported to Mexico and were considered unimportant enough that only the four Americans who died were mentioned by name in the papers. They were dehumanized. Part of this was because the officials wanted to set the tragedy behind them and move on, but another part was that the victims weren't as valued by them because they were Mexican citizens who were in the process of being deported. So, as the officials worked to understand what happened, they did it quickly and succinctly and then moved on without locating the next-of-kin in each case.

That morning I was at the corner store, and we had all been listening to the radio. The radio announcer said that a plane had crashed, somewhere in California. That it had burned and many people were killed. It was on the news that I heard it. We were all there, my sisters and I . . . and we had this tiny radio on, just listening to it. They began announcing the names of all those killed in a plane crash. We never thought one of those names would be Luis. But we heard them say, Luis Miranda Cuevas. (Pause) There is something curious about me, see. Whenever I feel pain I start to laugh. I don’t cry. I laugh, and I don’t know why. So I began to laugh. It was terrible. There were a lot of names, everyone who was killed. It was right then that I thought of our phone call, when Luis had contacted me just a few days before. I could still hear his voice in my ear. Strange that before that, he had gone to los Estados many, many times, and never once had he called me before. But this time he did. It was the only time he contacted me, to tell me that he was returning to Jocotepec, and to say that we were going to get married, and that he was bringing me a mariachi.

Hernandez is able to put a human face on the tragedy of the crash and the secondary tragedy of loved ones not knowing what became of the people they cared for by researching and...

(The entire section contains 741 words.)

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