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Cuba says it is ‘impossible’ to identify bone remains found after fire

In 14 groups of bone remains, 754 fragments were found; all material exposed to temperatures up to 2000º C

Yamil Lage//AFPThe Cuban flag flies near the destroyed section of the fuel depot, which was engulfed in flames for five days after lightning struck one of its tanks.
A Cuban flag flies near a destroyed section of a fuel depot that was engulfed in flames for five days after lightning struck one of its tanks, in Matanzas, Cuba, August 10, 2022.

authorities Cuba concluded that on this Wednesday, the 17th, “it is impossible to absolutely identify” the identity of the skeletal remains found in the area industrial fire happened at a fuel depot in killings, in the west of the island. At a press conference, Jorge González Pérez, president of the Cuban Society of Forensic Medicine, noted that although a DNA test was not possible due to the degree of calcification, it could be concluded that the fragments corresponded to the 14 missing. González Perez made his statement shortly after meeting with relatives and friends of the missing, whose names and ages were not released by the coroner. In the area of ​​the fire, considered the largest man-made disaster in the history of the country, In “14 groups of bone remains” 754 fragments were found., according to Gonzalez Perez. According to this expert, the found remains were exposed to temperatures reaching 2000 degrees Celsius. To detect them, according to a summary of events, it was necessary to break through the layer of solid fuel formed during the fire, which reached four tanks with a capacity of 50,000 cubic meters each.

Also, according to Gonzalez Perez, it is impossible to know whether each of the 14 groups of bone remains belongs to each of the 14 disappeared separately. To reach these conclusions, Cuba consulted with the International Committee of the Red Cross, the president of the International Association of Forensic Medicine, Angel Carracedo, and experts from several countries on the continent and Europe, whose names were not disclosed. The specialist also did not specify whether there was contact with foreign universities with research areas specializing in this type of DNA recognition in burned fragments.

In this sense, the medical examiner pointed out that in the country “we have all the technologies for any type of identification”, but not for events of “these characteristics”. According to preliminary data, as a result of the tragedy, two people died and 132 were injured, 17 of whom remain in hospitals. Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel declared on Wednesday two days of official mourning, starting Thursday, 18, in honor of the people who died in a serious fire. The Cuban flag will remain at half-staff in mourning until midnight on Friday, the 19th, the day the funeral ceremonies take place. On this day, there will also be a tribute at the Matanzas Fire Museum.

*According to EFE

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