This pleasant Canary Island city began to return to normal today, but there was one disturbing reminder of Sunday's airplane tragedy - the floor of an aircraft hangar the size of a football field that is covered with coffins.
"That's the American section over there," said a man with a wave of his arm. "You're standing in the Dutch section."
The American section - with its 324 coffins - is a bit larger, representing as it does more than half of the 577 people who died as a result of Sunday's collision of a KLM Royal Dutch Airlines Boeing 747 and a Pan American World Airways 747.
U.S. and Spanish officials today virtually completed negotiations over transferring the coffins to the United States for identification of the bodies. Assuming that repairs to the one runway of Tenerife island's Los Rodeos airport are completed in time, a Pan Am jet freighter will take the bodies to Dover, Del. Air Force Base Saturday.
There, a team of U.S. pathologists and forensic dentists will begin the job of identification. The bodies, almost all badly burned, have been embalmed and wrapped according to Spanish law, and identification of most of them will have to be made through dental charts and other medical records. The U.S. identification team sent here found it could do nothing, and returned to the United States today.
No one from the crash remains hospitalized here. Two Pan Am stewardesses - the last survivors still here - left for New York this afternoon. Forty other survivors were flown to the United States yesterday.
Spanish, Dutch and U.S. crash investigators were getting down to the routine part of their work, including research of pilot medical records and examination of airport firefighting equipment.
American and Dutch officials were permitted to interview the three Spanish air traffic controllers on duty at the time of the accident.
"We discussed selection of the taxiway, lighting, weather and the communications with the pilots." National Transportation Safety Board member William R. Haley said. He did not elaborate.
The chief Dutch investigator, Frans van Reisen, said he had no reason to modify his earlier statement that the KLM pilot had taken off without a proper clearance from the controllers. The Pan Am plane was still taxiing on the runway when the departing KLM jet hit it. Still unresolved is a report that the Pan Am pilot did not leave the runway as he was told by controllers. Pan Am officials deny that interpretation.
(News agencies reproted that sources close to the investigation said the questioning of the controllers and tape recordings of control tower communications showed that the Spaniards followed all the correct procedures in correct English.)
Haley announced that the recordings made in the cockpits of both pianes are being flown to Washington under the control of the Spanish military. Those recordings, regarded as crucial in answering the question of why the KLM captain started his takeoff without controller approval, will be palyed for the first time Monday on the Safety Board's special equipment. Colleagues of the Pan Am and KLM crew members will assist in interpreting the conversations and in identifying the voices.
The flight data recorders - complex devices that remember the technical aspects of a flight - have also been recovered of a flight - have also been recovered from both planes and are enroute to Washington, Haley said.
While all this has been going on, the citizens of Tenerife have shared in the grief of relatives of victims and others. Taxi drivers are solicitons of foreigners and offer their sympathy to Americans and Dutch. Besieged airport and hotel employees - unaccustomed to the crush of press coverage - have gone out of their way to make inadequate facilities work.
When the last of the survivors of aviation's worst crash checked out of the hopital here, there was no bill.
"There is no charge," the hospital director repeated to a Pan Am official who was trying to settle accounts.
If there is a uniform area of praise from Americans here it is for the compassion and understanding of the Spanish hospital employees.
"Progessionally, they were extremely competent," said Dr. Joseph Constantino, corporate medical director for Pan Am. "But more, they were dedicated beyond understanding."