Home World News Death Toll Rises to 35 in The Havana’s Saratoga Hotel Explosion

Death Toll Rises to 35 in The Havana’s Saratoga Hotel Explosion

Death Toll Rises to 35 in The Havana’s Saratoga Hotel Explosion

The death toll from a devastating explosion at a luxury hotel in Cuba’s capital rose to 35 on Monday as rescue workers with dogs combed the ruins of the renowned 19th-century structure for individuals who remained missing. 

On Friday, a suspected gas leak blew the exterior walls of the Hotel Saratoga, a five-star 96-room hotel in Old Havana, onto the crowded, mid-morning streets only a block from the country’s Capitol building, forcing the hotel to shut for two years.

The famous Marti Theater and the Calvary Baptist Church, which serves as the denomination’s headquarters in western Cuba, were destroyed. 

The structure sustained “severe structural damage, with numerous crumbled or fractured walls and columns (and) the ceiling partly collapsed,” according to the church’s Facebook page, while no church staff were injured.

Three additional dead were discovered overnight, according to Cuban Fire Department Chief Luis Guzmán. 

At the same time, search personnel with dogs combed through the wreckage for hours. 

Later Monday, the Ministry of Health said that the death toll had increased to 35, with 20 wounded people remaining in hospitals.

According to the Health Ministry, four youngsters, a pregnant lady and a Spanish tourist who was critically wounded, were among the fatalities.

Officials also said that 54 individuals were hurt, 24 requiring hospitalization. 

It had initially said that 85 people were injured, but that number included those who died in the blast.

As of Saturday evening, 19 families had reported persons missing, but officials could not specify whether that number had changed.

Authorities are currently investigating the explosion’s origin at the hotel owned by Grupo de Turismo Gaviota SA. 

Still, they suspect a gas leak caused it. A giant crane lifted a scorched gas tanker from the ruins on Saturday.

According to municipal officials, burials for the fatalities had started as other residents awaited word on missing friends and family.

“We’re trying to learn anything about my cousin’s mother,” Angela Acosta said near the explosion scene to The Associated Press. Mara de la Concepción Alard, a relative, resided in an apartment near the hotel with a black Labrador, rescued with another dog on Sunday.