In a press conference held in the afternoon at the International Press Center (CPI), Doctor of Science Jorge González Pérez, president of the Cuban Society of Legal Medicine, reported the discovery of 14 bone groups at the Supertanker Base of Matanzas, but said that an absolute identification of the remains was impossible.
He commented that in the preparation of the works a modeling of what the experts could find had been done. “According to estimates,” he stressed, “in the center of the fire there were more than a thousand or two thousand degrees Celsius.”
And he added: “In a corpse incinerator like the ones in Cuba or in any country in the world, in two hours, at 800 degrees Celsius, a body turns to ash. In such a way that, based on this concept, the first modeling we did was that if the conditions there were due to the effect of the flames, everything could have disappeared”.
“The first model,” he said, “was that we were not going to find anything and that everything was ash dissolved in the fuel that had been spilled.”
“The second modeling took into account a possible collapse on a body, the fall of pipes or the detachment of a metallic element that could have fallen on a body and prevent carbonization, that is, a total incineration of that body.”
“The specialists also took into account that due to the fuel spill, the body could be under the liquid and the combustion would not be total depending on the moment in which that fire was extinguished.”
Although the experts were already ready in Matanzas, he said, they had to wait until the fire in the area was extinguished to begin the investigation on the ground.
He explained: “We had to go in when there were still burning areas. There was smoke, we had to go in and out. There were colleagues whose shoes melted as a result of the intense heat on the ground. There were difficulties that were overcome as time went by and due to the action of the extinction team that was constantly there, also to protect us.”
Dr. Jorge González explained that international experts had been consulted in order to determine if the remains could somehow be identified through forensic examinations, but they agreed with the Cuban experts that with the techniques available in these moments in the world is impossible.
Finally, the doctor said that they had just finished the last interview with all the relatives, who were informed about this investigation process. On behalf of the experts and scientists who worked in the search for the remains, he conveyed condolences to relatives and friends of the deceased.
The President of the Republic of Cuba, Miguel Díaz Canel, decreed official mourning from 6:00 a.m. on August 18 until 12:00 p.m. on the 19th as a tribute to those who fell during the fire at the Matanzas Supertanker Base.