The the bodies of two neighbours, a 77-year-old woman and a 55-year-old councillor, were removed on Tuesday rubble, bringing to 42 the dead of the explosion recorded four days ago at the Saratoga hotel in the Cuban capital, Havana.
According to the latest report from the Ministry of Public Health, 54 people were injured by the explosion and 17 of them are still hospitalized.
The list of deceased now includes María Consuelo Álvarez (77) and the delegate of People’s Power (council) for the neighborhood, Juan Carlos Díaz (55), whom neighbors had been looking for since Friday.
Following the blast, 18 people remain hospitalized in six hospitals in the Cuban capital, Xinhua reported.
Using dogs and other search techniques, rescue teams on Monday found six more bodies in the adjoining building and between the basement and basement of the hotel, the only area of the seven-story facility. floors that could not be fully explored. .
In these lower levels, several cubic meters of rubble accumulate and they also have several compartments, since the offices of the Ministry of Economy, a laundry and a warehouse were located there.
In the hotel 53 people were working at the time of the accident which happened at the stroke of noon on Friday, when a tank truck loaded with approximately 10,000 liters of liquefied gas was handled.
Fire chief Colonel Luis Carlos Guzmán told reporters that the basement is completely collapsed and the rescuers only reached 30-40% of this area.
“It is a job in which we cannot despair, and in which we must take extreme security measures, based on the high risk of the activity that is carried out,” the officer said. “We continue to work around the collapsed apartment building and the hotel. In the space between the two and where, according to information from neighbors, there must be two people under the rubble, a woman and a man, people in the building,” he explained.
Guzmán said the work of clearing debris and rescuing victims is being carried out with extreme caution, but without interruption, and will not be considered complete until the last person who may remain trapped is found.
The first secretary of the Communist Party in Havana, Luis Antonio Torres, spoke in the same direction, verifying Monday on the site the search for human beings and the removal of the debris.
“It’s a complex and difficult job, but there is no rest for a moment to achieve this goal,” said the political leader.
The area surrounding the crash site remains restricted to avoid onlookers at the site, where the facade of the hotel appears to have been cut by a giant knife that exposed the interiors of several rooms.
The explosion damaged around 20 neighboring buildings.including the century-old Teatro Martí, a primary school, two residential buildings and a Baptist church.
The first secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba in the municipality of Old Havana, Tamara Placeres, told the press that another body was found in the rubble early Tuesday morning, which is already being identified.
The partisan representative explained that rescuers managed to move from basement to basement of the affected facilities, the only ones in the seven-story building that could not be fully inspected.
With a five-star category and located near the National Capitol, seat of the National Assembly of People’s Power of Cuba, the Saratoga Hotel was preparing to start its services next Tuesday as part of the revival of the island’s tourism industry.
Built in 1880 to house shops, the French neoclassical style building was transformed into a hotel in 1933 and a a luxury establishment in 2005, with 96 rooms, two restaurants, a spa and a swimming pool on the roof.
The Saratoga has hosted world famous personalities such as American singer Beyoncé and her husband, Jay Z, Madonna and her daughter Lourdes, Rihanna, rockers Mick Jagger and Ozzy Osbourne, as well as actor Leonardo Di Caprio and the Kardashian sisters.