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Cuba hotel blast death toll rises to 42, mostly hotel workers; 3 remain missing

Cuba Hotel Explosion
Posted at 4:23 PM, May 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-10 16:24:18-04

The elegant Hotel Saratoga was supposed to reopen in Havana on Tuesday after a two-year pandemic break. Instead, it's a day of mourning for the 42 people known to have died in an explosion that ripped apart the building. The search for even more victims is still on.

A spokesman for the hotel company says experts estimate that 80 percent of the hotel was damaged by Friday's explosion, which hurled tons of concrete chunks into streets just a block from the country's Capitol, and seriously harmed neighboring structures.

Fifty-one people were working to get the hotel ready for its re-inauguration and 23 of them are among the dead. Three workers remain missing.

Cuba Hotel Explosion
Cuban Red Cross workers walk away from the destroyed five-star Hotel Saratoga after searching through the rubble days after a deadly explosion in Old Havana, Cuba, Tuesday, May 10, 2022. An apparent gas leak ignited on Friday, May 6. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

The Ministry of Health said the overall death toll jumped to 42, including at least one Spanish tourist. Seventeen people remained hospitalized.

The head of the Communist Party for Havana, Luis Antonio Torres Iríbar, said that 38 homes had been affected by the explosion and 95 people had to be relocated, according to the official Cubadebate website, the Associated Press reported.