26 dead, 80 injured in explosion at Hotel Saratoga in Havana, Cuba

26 dead, 80 injured in explosion at Hotel Saratoga in Havana, Cuba
Fecha de publicación: 
7 May 2022
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Rescue teams searching for survivors in the rubble were also working to reach people believed to be trapped in the hotel’s basement.

The death toll of an explosion at one of Havana’s most luxurious hotels grew to 26 on Saturday as rescuers continued searching for possible survivors at the partially collapsed Hotel Saratoga, Cuban state media reported.

The blast at the 96-room hotel Friday afternoon was apparently caused by a natural gas leak, but Cuba's Tourism Minister Dalila González said Saturday the cause of the explosion was still under investigation.

The 19th-century structure in the Old Havana neighborhood was being renovated ahead of a planned reopening Tuesday.

Representatives of Grupo de Turismo Gaviota SA, which owns the hotel, said during a news conference Saturday that 51 workers were inside the hotel when the blast happened as well as two people working on renovations. Of those, 11 were killed, 13 remained missing and six were hospitalized.

Cuba’s ministry of health confirmed that 80 injured, including about 15 children, were injured by the explosion. Of those hurt, 46 remained hospitalized Saturday.

The names of all the fatal victims were broadcasted by Cuban state television Saturday afternoon. The dead include four minors, a pregnant woman, and at least one tourist from Spain, Cuban authorities said.

The blast also damaged 23 nearby buildings, including one adjacent to the hotel which had 15 apartments completely destroyed.

At least one survivor was found early Saturday in the rubble.

Relatives of those who remain missing have been desperately searching for their loved ones in the morgue and in hospitals. When unsuccessful, they gather outside the wrecked hotel where rescuers and search dogs continue clambering over huge chunks of concrete looking for more survivors.

The site of the Saratoga Hotel explosion in Havana, Cuba

Yatmara Cobas, the mother of a 27-year-old housekeeper, was standing outside the rescue perimeter waiting for word of her daughter Shaidis Cobas, who had been inside Hotel Saratoga since Friday morning.

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