Catastrophe

Death Toll From Guatemalan Volcano Rises to 69

The official death toll from the volcano blast in Guatemala has risen to 69 and is expected to increase as firefighters and soldiers continue to search for missing people. The eruption from the Fuego volcano, which began Sunday and sent ash six miles into the sky, is believed to be over for the moment. Rescuers said some recovered bodies were so thickly coated with ash that they looked like statues, and they were forced to use sledgehammers to break through the roofs of houses buried in debris up to their rooflines. “It is very difficult for us to identify them because some of the dead lost their features or their fingerprints” from lava flows, said Fanuel Garcia, director of the National Institute of Forensic Sciences. “We are going to have to resort to other methods... and if possible take DNA samples to identify them.” Of the 69 bodies recovered, only 17 have been identified.