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28 May 2024

Experts work to ID volcano victims in Guatemala

Photo: AP


At a makeshift morgue in Guatemala, forensic workers are trying to identify victims of this week’s deadly volcanic explosion.

About 15 experts are doing autopsies on the bodies, which arrive wrapped in sheets and plastic. First they check for identifying items such as clothing, if there is any.

Later they will extract DNA material from the bones — the tissue is too badly damaged by the extreme temperatures of the volcanic flows — to compare with DNA from the blood of people’s relatives.

On one table lies the body of a person frozen statue-like in death, its stomach distended and a hand jutting stiffly outward.

A woman takes notes, and another worker photographs the body.

Dozens more bodies are in white plastic bags on wooden pallets.

In all, there are 40 corpses at the morgue, which comprise part of the confirmed death toll of 109. Nearly 200 are said to still be missing.