The mechanical response and the injury pattern of pig thorax submitted to belt loading conditions were compared for living and dead subjects. The absolute deflexion and the resultant force were computed from cinephotogrammetric data. The results indicate that dead are stiffer by 80 % than living subjects. The visceral injury rate is higher in the living population. The skeletal injury rate is identical for both populations but injury patterns are different. Correlations were obtained in the living sample particularly between injury levels and deflexion, force and aortic pressure. With dead subjects, only one correlation was obtained between injury level and deflexion.