Cuba: 30 people died in the Saratoga hotel explosion | Rubble removal work continues in Havana in search of survivors

The Cuban Ministry of Public Health reported that 30 people have died in Cuba so far as a result of the accidental explosion at the Saratoga Hotel in Havana.

“84 people were injured, including 24 in hospital, 30 patients were discharged and 30 died,” the agency said in a note posted on its website.

On its previous tally, it reported 27 deaths, but firefighters and rescuers were searching for bodies on Sunday under the rubble of the building in Old Havana.

“We spent 43 straight hours trying to find as many people as possible,” Old Havana Mayor Alexis Acosta told reporters at the scene. “Until they are found, I don’t think it will stop.”

“In the basement and in the basement are the main insurance services of the hotel,” the manager explained, including the warehouse, refrigerators, desks and laundry.

He admitted that the amount of debris left by the explosion made it difficult to “reach all the spaces” underground.

According to the Ministry of Health and Community Protection, among the 30 dead, there are four children and teenagers, a pregnant woman and a 29-year-old Spanish tourist, whose husband was also injured during the explosion that partially destroyed the luxury hotel that was under renovation.

Of the 24 hospitalized, seven are in critical condition, six are in serious condition and 11 are in care.

To the multiple messages of condolences and solidarity Cuba has received since the incident on Friday, a message from Pope Francis was added on Sunday.

“Let us also pray for the victims of the explosion that took place in a large hotel in the capital of Cuba, Havana. May the risen Christ guide them to the father’s house and bring solace to their families,” the Pope said in his message. Reposted on Twitter of the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

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The five-star hotel was closed for two years due to the pandemic and was preparing to reopen to the public on May 10.

Its first four floors were destroyed.

According to the Tourism Ministry reported yesterday, at the time the explosion occurred, possibly due to a gas leak, 51 workers were inside.

Saratoga is known for hosting many celebrities in recent years, including Mick Jagger, Beyoncé, and Madonna.

Built in 1880 to house shops, the building was converted into a hotel in 1933 and became a luxury establishment in 2005.

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