ALIQUIPPA, Pa., Sept. 14 -- The man who is helping oversee the grim task of recovering human remains from the wreckage of USAir Flight 427 said Wednesday emotional stress is claiming many of the volunteers who have been collecting body parts from the hillside near Pittsburgh International Airport. Allegheny County, Pa., Fire Marshal John Kaus said that since the body recovery operation began Friday, 40 percent of the volunteers have left, 'most of them due to stress.' The crash Thursday night in Hopewell, Pa., killed all 127 passengers and five crew members on board. Kaus said many of the volunteers left, asked for reassignment or did not return Tuesday as more human remains were found in the wreckage. 'This is starting to take its toll on the workers,' Krauss said. 'We're seeing it every day. More and more people don't want to go back to the site.' The task of recovering bodies is particularly grim and personal for Kaus, whose friend and neighbor, Curt Young, 37, of Oakmont, Pa., in the crash. Kaus earlier said he had made it his mission to find Young's remains on the hillside where the plane crashed. Kaus estimated the removal of human remains was nearly complete after Tuesday. 'I'm pretty comfortable that there is a light at the end of the tunnel with respect to body removal,' said Kaus. Officials there were enough replacement workers to continue the search. Among the volunteers are local emergency medical technicians, firefighters and other people trained in body recovery.
'This is not something you can train for,' said Hopewell emergency management coordinator Jim Eichenlaub. Workers at the site are wearing protective suits to protect them against hepatitisB, AIDS, tetanus and asbestos. Flight 427 was about 6 miles (10 km)t from Pittsburgh International Airport Thursday when it rolled sharply to its left and fell 6,000 feet (1,800 m.) onto the wooded hillside. The crash, the United States' worst airline disaster since August 1987, is being investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration.