Cuban Rescuers Find More Human Remains at the Site of the Matanzas Supertanker Base Fire

The Cuban government has not revealed the costs of the Matanzas fire, considered the worst in history. (José Ángel Portal Miranda)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio/EFE, Havana, 16 August 2022 — Specialized teams found more bone remains at the site of the large industrial fire recorded in Matanzas, the Minister of Public Health, José Ángel Portal, reported on Monday.

“The tireless search for bone fragments and objects that could have to do with any of the missing people thought to be at the scene of the accident at the time of the explosion continues,” Portal said on Twitter.

The fragments were found on Sunday in “several places in the area” of the fire and have already been sent to “the laboratories for identification.”

Last Friday, the Cuban Government reported that it had located at the site of the fire — which began after the alleged impact of lightning in one of eight fuel tanks with 50,000 cubic meters of capacity — the skeletal remains of four people, presumably firefighters.

Officially, 14 people are listed as missing, mainly firefighters who were working on extinguishing the flames when a large explosion occurred.

Forensic doctor Jorge González Pérez, who directs the work of the investigation of the remains of Matanzas, said on Monday that they haven’t located the place where the 14 victims disappeared, and calculated that this could take “two more days.” He added that he considers it “unlikely” that “there is some laboratory test, for example DNA” that can be performed in this case.

So far, the Government has not disclosed their identities, despite the demand of independent activists and NGOs, who have claimed that some were young people doing military service.

So far, the relatives of the missing are the ones who have gone on social networks to say that they have no information about them, and some who have been given as dead, such as the young Leo Alejandro Doval del Prado, 19.

The fire was officially declared extinguished on Friday.

The flames affected four fuel tanks in the industrial park, strategic for the country, causing serious explosions, with flares of over 30 feet, and a column of toxic black smoke that reached Havana, 60 miles away.

The Cuban Government has also not disseminated estimates of the economic cost of this event, which is already described as the largest industrial disaster in the country, nor the exact levels of contamination from the accident.

The total, to date, after the incident is two deaths, 132 people injured and 19 hospitalized, according to the daily report of the Ministry of Public Health.

Translated by Regina Anavy


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