MIAMI, United States. – Cuba’s Ministry of Health (MINSAP, by its Spanish acronym) stated this Monday afternoon that the number of casualties resulting from the explosion at the Saratoga Hotel in Havana had gone up to 40. This after search and rescue operations today recovered eight more bodies from the rubble.
According to an official report, the injured are being treated at six Havana hospitals. To date, there are 94 people injured; 18 remain hospitalized and 36 have been discharged.
Likewise, official information indicates that, 72 hours after the explosion, search and rescue operations continue at the Saratoga Hotel in search of individuals still missing. The Saratoga is located in one of the busiest areas in Havana.
According to the Cuban News Agency, at General Calixto García University Hospital in Havana, “nine patients injured during the explosion are being treated.” The release also states that one of the patients being treated at the burn unit was soon to be discharged.
Nineteen families reported relatives missing, stated Reinaldo García Zapata, the governor of Havana. However, although the exact number of persons still missing is not known, relatives estimate that between 12 and 13 individuals could still be trapped under the rubble.
Among the 40 victims of the explosion -caused by a gas leak at the hotel that also affected adjacent buildings, including a school- was Cristina López-Cerón Ugarte, a 28-year-old Spaniard who was visiting the island with César, her fiancé, who is seriously injured.
Also among the casualties and the injured are hotel workers and regular citizens who were in the vicinity of the Hotel when the explosion occurred.
According to reports by the official press, search and rescue units are still working in the hotel’s basement, where they believe people may still be trapped.
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