Death toll after gas explosion at Hotel Saragota in Havana rises to 31
The devastating explosion in the Cuban capital, Havana, claimed other victims. Meanwhile, rescuers have already recovered 31 dead. Dozens of wounded also lay under the rubble of the luxury hotel.
BRescue teams with sniffer dogs were still searching Sunday for other victims in the rubble of the Saratoga Hotel in Havana.
On Friday, a powerful explosion had largely destroyed the luxury hostel in Old Havana. According to initial findings, a gas tank had exploded when the liquid gas was delivered. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the famous five-star hotel a short walk from the Capitol has been closed for about two years. It is expected to reopen next Tuesday.
The Ministry of Health announced on Sunday that four minors and a pregnant woman were among the dead. 24 people were treated in hospitals, 30 others slightly injured have already been released.
The first four floors of the “Saratoga” were badly damaged by the explosion. The cathedral of a nearby church also collapsed and cars parked nearby were destroyed. At the time of the accident, many employees were in the hotel preparing for the reopening.
The Cuban presidential office assessed the number of injured this weekend at 64, the Ministry of Health spoke of 56 injured. At least eleven people were in mortal danger, according to the hospital.
President Miguel Diaz-Canel, who visited the hotel, ruled out an attack: ‘It was a regrettable accident,’ he said Twitter. At the same time, he praised the reaction of the authorities and the solidarity of the citizens. Many Cubans volunteered to donate blood immediately after the crash.
Two Spanish nationals were also among the victims. “A Spanish tourist died and another Spanish citizen was seriously injured in the Saratoga hotel explosion,” Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said on Twitter. “Our sincere condolences go to the families and to all the victims and injured. All our support also goes to the Cuban people.
Tourism is one of the most important sources of income for the socialist island state. Before the pandemic, about half a million of the approximately eleven million Cubans worked in the state tourism industry, which accounted for around 10% of gross domestic product in 2020. Tourism in Cuba had already seen a decline in 2019, in part because of tougher US sanctions.