Cuba: 45 dead in Saratoga hotel explosion

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Cuban authorities have declared national mourning following the retrieval of the body of the last missing person in the wreckage of a hotel in Havana on Thursday, which was destroyed by an explosion due to a gas leak, which increased the death toll to 45.

“The President of the Republic of Cuba (Miguel Dias-Canel) has declared national mourning following the accident at the Saratoga Hotel on May 6, in which 44 of our compatriots and a Spanish national were killed, and after the rescue operations were completed,” according to a press release from the presidency read on the public television news bulletin.

The 42-hour national mourning period will be valid from sunrise and will end at midnight on Saturday. The flags will be flying at half-mast.

Earlier, Firefighter Luis Carlos Guzman, the fire chief, told the press that the body of the last missing man had been retrieved from the rubble of a hotel, the first four floors of which were destroyed in the blast. from a tanker with liquefied natural gas.

The 45 victims include four children and teenagers, a pregnant woman and a 29-year-old Spanish tourist.

According to the Cuban Ministry of Health, the accident also resulted in 54 people being injured, 16 of whom continued to be hospitalized on Thursday. Four are minors. Two of them are in a critical condition.

The Saratoga, a neoclassical building in the old town, remained closed for two years due to the pandemic and was being renovated ahead of its reopening on Tuesday, May 10, when the disaster struck.

It was especially famous because in the previous years it hosted various celebrities, from Mick Jagger to Beyonce and Madonna.

The building was erected in 1880 to house shops. It was converted into a hotel in 1993. It became a five star hotel in 2005.

source: ΑΠΕ

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