Explosion of a hotel in Cuba death toll rises to 32

Steph Deschamps / May 8, 2022

The death toll from the powerful explosion that blew up the iconic Saratoga Hotel in Havana climbed Saturday to 32 dead and 19 missing, while rescue workers are still searching for survivors.
The previous death toll was 26, including four children and teenagers, but according to Gloria Bonnin, a provincial Red Cross official, the latest list compiled by the emergency services brings the death toll to 32, in an explosion probably caused by a gas leak. Several dozen injured are still hospitalized. Emblematic establishment of the old Havana with its green facade, the hotel, in work, was closed for two years to the tourists. Only workers and employees were inside, preparing its reopening, scheduled for May 10. The first four floors of the Saratoga hotel, classified 5 stars and known to have accommodated these last years several celebrities of which Mick Jagger, Beyoncé and Madonna, were blown up in the explosion, which occurred Friday around 11:00 am. Built in 1880 to house stores, the building had been transformed into a hotel in 1933 and renovated into a luxury establishment in 2005.
The search for bodies or survivors was continuing Saturday evening in the two underground floors whose access is complicated by the large amount of rubble, a journalist from AFP noted. The inhabitants of the neighbouring dwellings damaged by the explosion were evacuated as a precaution to shelters.
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