Search against the clock for survivors in Havana hotel, which leads to 31 deaths


As the hours passed, the chances of survivors amidst the wreckage of the hotel are gone. The relatives of the missing wait in a nearby public building, in agony and hope

General view of rescue operations at the destroyed Hotel Aratoga.
General view of rescue operations at the destroyed Hotel Aratoga.yander zamoraEFE
  • America National mourning in Cuba while rescue continues for people trapped in ruins of Hotel Saratoga

So far 31 people have been killed in Sunday’s explosion at the Saratoga Hotel in Havana, while the search for the missing is still going on amid the rubble.

The rescue teams, who worked tirelessly during Sunday, have succeeded in evacuating at least one body from the ruins Apart from the corpse of a dog, what was once one of the most luxurious and emblematic hotels in Havana.

“We will not finish the work of the last worker the family is waiting for at home,” the mayor of Old Havana municipality told Efe from around Saratoga. Alexis Acosta.

Havana’s Provincial Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba (PCC, legal only), quoted by the official media CubeDebt, noted at its meeting this Sunday that Looking for 14 people.

The progress of these works is complicated enough, explained the technicians, who want to access In the double cellar of Saratoga, Where the trapped workers are expected to be concentrated.

Acosta indicated that rescue efforts are “intensely focused” on the “basement, where part of the service was”, as he believes “workers who were there that day and have not yet appeared”, As well as “the neighbors of the building next door also suffered”.

Those two underground floors contained a warehouse, an office area and several shops.

But the collapse of the ground floor floor and the first floor above the basement makes the work difficult and there are many difficulties in operating the heavy machinery, which threatens to collide and cause the already unstable structure of the building. new crashes.

However, the priority is clear, Acosta stressed: “at least to be able to save the bodies and deliver them to the families who are very concerned.”

However as the hours passed, The chances of finding survivors are decreasing Amidst the ruins of the hotel. The relatives of the missing wait in a nearby public building, in agony and hope.

development of the injured

An update of figures presented by the Cuban Ministry of Public Health (MINSAP) at 6:30 pm local time (0:30 GMT on Monday) put the death toll at four compared to the previous day, By 31, people between the ages of 10 and 77. Four were minors and one was pregnant.

All the deceased are Cubans except Spanish Cristina López-Cerrone Ugarte. Officials in his country confirmed that they would do everything possible so that repatriation can take place in the coming days.

The total number of injured has gone up to 84, of whom 24 are hospitalised. Of these, 19 are adults and 5 are minors.

Of the people admitted to seven medical centers of the capital, the condition of 7 people remains critical and the condition of 6 remains critical. Apart from this, 11 have received minor injuries.

Among the injured are a Cuban-American and a Spaniard. Caesar Roman Santalau, companion of the deceased Spanish woman. He was admitted in critical condition and had to undergo immediate surgery. Health officials indicated on Saturday that his life was out of danger.

A “regrettable accident”

Since the explosion on Friday morning, the Cuban government has reiterated on several occasions that it was a gas leak. The commission is examining the facts.

at the time of the explosion a liquefied gas tanker truck I was made to stand in front of the hotel and was recharging the hotel deposit. It is believed that there may be a crack in the tube.

President of Cuba, Miguel Diaz-Canel, has already talked about the “unfortunate accident” this Friday. “It was not a bomb or an attack,” he said.

Another 17 nearby buildings were affected There will be a technical evaluation from the accident and in the next few days three blocks and the hotel itself to analyze whether they can be recovered or should be demolished.

Saratoga was built in 1880 and served as a hotel since 1911. Its last restoration took place in 2005, when the building was deeply renovated.

With five stars, the hotel was considered Symbol of the restored historical center of the city. Stars like Beyonce, Madonna and Mick Jagger stayed in its suites.

The establishment is located in Paseo del Prado, one of the main thoroughfares of Old Havana, in the historic center of the Cuban capital, one of the city’s great tourist attractions.

The accident happened when the island’s tourist area is try to wake up After a forced hiatus of two years due to the pandemic. This industry is the key to the national economy and the second largest sector of gross domestic product (GDP).

Governor of Havana Reynaldo Garcia Zapata, He stressed that the accident had “nothing to do with the safety that Cuba has shown” for international tourists.

Cuba has received over 450,000 tourists between January and April and is expected to receive 2.5 million foreign visitors for the entire year. This figure is significantly higher than last year, but still far from the amount before the pandemic.

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