Cuba says it’s “impossible” to identify bone remains found after the fire

Cuba says it’s “impossible” to identify bone remains found after the fire

754 fragments were found in 14 groups of bone remains; All materials have been exposed to temperatures of up to 2,000 °C

Yamil Lage //AFPA Cuban flag flies near a destroyed area of ​​the tank farm, which was ablaze for five days after lightning struck one of its tanks.
A Cuban flag flies in Matanzas, Cuba August 10, 2022 near a destroyed area of ​​the tank farm that was ablaze for five days after lightning struck one of its tanks.

the authorities of Cuba concluded this Wednesday the 17th that it is “impossible to identify absolutely the identity of the bone remains found in the area of ​​the”. industrial fire occurred at a fuel depot in Butcher, in the west of the island. In a press conference, Jorge González Pérez, president of the Cuban Society of Forensic Medicine, pointed out that although a DNA test could not be carried out due to the degree of calcination, it could be concluded that the fragments correspond to the 14 missing people. González Pérez gave his testimony shortly after meeting relatives and friends of the disappeared, whose names and ages were denied by the coroner. In the area of ​​the fire, believed to be the largest industrial disaster in the country’s history, 754 fragments were found in “14 groups of bone remains”., says Perez. The remains found were exposed to temperatures of up to 2,000 degrees Celsius, according to this expert. According to the crime report, in order to find them, a layer of solid fuel that had formed during the fire had to be penetrated, which reached four tanks, each with a capacity of 50,000 cubic meters.

Also according to González Pérez, it is not possible to know if each of the 14 groups of bone remains belongs separately to each of the 14 disappeared. To reach these conclusions, Cuba consulted the International Committee of the Red Cross, the President of the International Association of Forensic Sciences, Ángel Carracedo, and experts from several countries of the continent and Europe, whose names were not disclosed. The expert also did not clarify whether there are contacts with foreign universities with research areas that specialize in this type of DNA recognition in burned fragments.

In this sense, the forensic scientist pointed out that in the country “we have all the technology for any type of identification”, but not for events “with these characteristics”. The tragedy has a preliminary record of two dead and 132 injured, 17 of whom remain hospitalized. The President of Cuba, Miguel DíazCanel, on Wednesday declared a twoday official mourning, starting this Thursday, the 18th, in honor of the people who died in the serious fire. The Cuban flag will be flown at halfmast as a sign of mourning until midnight on Friday 19th, the day of the funeral ceremonies. On this day there will also be a tribute at the Matanzas Fire Museum.

*With information from EFE