Cuba Closes Search for Bodies at Saratoga Hotel
Cuba ended the search for bodies at the Saratoga hotel in Havanasix days after a serious explosion that left 45 fatalities.
The last body, found this Thursday in the rubble of the basement, where the hotel workers had been trapped, is that of the only person reported missing that remained to be found. This is a 27-year-old hotel maid, as confirmed in its latest report by the Ministry of Health.
Friday’s huge explosion at the five-star Hotel Saratoga, a block from the iconic capitol buildingin a renovated area of Havana, left more than 100 people trapped, dead or injured.
Authorities say a gas leak caused the explosion.
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Once the rescue tasks have been completed, the firefighters and other emergency teams, who took a break on Thursday afternoon after six days without a break, will now continue with the cleaning and debris removal work in the area where the accident occurred. .
Fifteen remain hospitalized
The explosion of the Saratoga -one of the most emblematic points of the Havana historical center- also left a long list of injured, which so far rises to 99, of which 15 remain hospitalized.
The establishment was not open to the public at the time of the explosion. The 51 workers who were inside last Friday, when the explosion occurred, were preparing the hotel for its reopening, which was scheduled for last Tuesday.
All the deceased are of Cuban nationality -including four minors and one pregnant-, except for the young Spanish tourist Cristina López-Cerón Ugarte, whose ashes are already in her native province of Lugo. Her partner, with the same citizenship, is still hospitalized in Havana, although her life is not in danger.
The blast wave affected some 17 nearby buildings, where debris is still being removed. Experts will review the damage to the hotel and these buildings and decide which can be recovered and which should be demolished. The mayor of the municipality of Old Havana, Alexis Acosta, explained that once the rescue is over, the neighboring buildings will be recovered.
The collapse of the floors of the ground floor and the first floor above the basement made the search difficult for days in an operation against the clock to save lives that concluded this Thursday.
With the rescue work completed, the Cuban regime decreed two days of official mourning, from 6:00 a.m. on May 13 to 12:00 p.m. on May 14, official sources reported.
The Saratoga, a seven-story building, was built in 1880 and has been a hotel since 1911. Its last restoration took place in 2005, when the building was extensively renovated.
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