Cuba: Number of people killed in Havana hotel explosion rises to 40 as more bodies pulled from ruins | World News

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Editor May 10, 2022
Updated 2022/05/10 at 8:53 AM

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The official number of people killed in a powerful explosion at an iconic hotel in Cuba’s capital city Havana has risen to 40.

Search crews with dogs have continued to search through the ruins of Hotel Saratoga after an explosion on Friday apparently caused by a natural gas leak.

Dr Julio Guerra, chief of hospital services at the Ministry of Health, said more bodies had been recovered.

He added that 18 people were still hospitalised with injuries from the blast.

The 96-room, five-star hotel in Old Havana was preparing to reopen after being closed for two years before the blast collapsed its lower floors, leaving dozens trapped, killed or injured.

Among those killed include four children, a Spanish tourist and a pregnant woman, local authorities said.

Javier Martinez, a Havana city official, told reporters on Monday morning that the bodies of four hotel workers were discovered overnight.

Representatives of Grupo de Turismo Gaviota SA, which owns the hotel, said on Saturday that 51 hotel workers were inside the hotel when the blast happened as well as two people working on renovations.

Relatives of those who remain missing have been searching for their loved ones in the morgue and in hospitals.

The hotel in the Old Havana neighbourhood was remodelled by a British company after the fall of the Soviet Union and is popular among visiting government officials and celebrities including Beyoncé and Jay-Z.

Pic: AP
Image:
Pic: AP

The luxury hotel contains bars, restaurants, a spa, gym and rooftop pool, according to its website.

Authorities said an investigation was underway to determine the cause of the explosion at the hotel, which is owned by Grupo de Turismo Gaviota SA, one of the businesses run by the Cuban military.

Pic: AP
Image:
Pic: AP

Several nearby structures also were damaged, including the historic Marti Theatre and the Calvary Baptist Church, headquarters for the denomination in western Cuba.

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