Death toll in Havana hotel blast rises to 32
Cuban authorities have updated the number of victims of the Saratoga Hotel explosion in Havana raising the number of injured people to 80 and to 32 the number of deaths, according to local Red Cross sources.
A Health Ministry official also pointed out on state-run tv that 46 people were still hospitalized (31 adults and 15 children), among them a Spanish tourist.
Ten of those patients were reported to be in a severe condition.
According to the latest reports, 13 men and 13 women have already lost their lives as a result of the explosion, including four children a pregnant woman, and the partner of the Spanish tourist still hospitalized, according to the source.
Rescue efforts continue in the vicinity of the Saratoga hotel, located in central Old Havana. The explosion, which the authorities were quick to rule out as a possible terrorist attack, occurred Friday morning when a liquefied gas tanker was filling up a tank in the hotel. Experts agree the most likely cause for the explosion was a gas leak.
The blast caused a section of the seven-story building to collapse and the façade of the first three floors to detach, as an avalanche of tons of debris fell onto the sidewalk. The tanker truck was partially buried.
Firefighters, police officers, and emergency crews rushed to the scene and transported those affected to several nearby hospitals. A nearby school was evacuated.
The Saratoga, built in 1880 and operating as a hotel since 1911, was considered one of the most luxurious in the city. The establishment is located on Paseo del Prado, one of the main avenues of Old Havana, in the historic center of the Cuban capital.