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Saratoga Hotel: Body of Last Missing Person Found in the Rubble

Hotel Saratoga trabajadores

MIAMI, United States. – This Thursday afternoon, the remains of the last person reported missing after the May 6th explosion at the Saratoga Hotel were found in the rubble. With this casualty, the number of fatalities increases to 45 as a result of the explosion, according to Cubadebate.

“The body of the last person reported missing has been found. In the afternoon of May 112th, the body of the last person reported missing as a result of the accident at the Saratoga Hotel was found. It’s apparently the body of the hotel’s chambermaid. That makes 45 the number of casualties as a result of the accident. Search and rescue operations have been going on non-stop since May 6th, the day of the tragic event,” according to an official Cubadebate statement on its Facebook profile.

The news was confirmed, also, by Cuban television newscaster Lázaro Manuel Alonso. He wrote on his Facebook page this Thursday: “the remains of another casualty are found in the Saratoga rubble.”

Hotel Saratoga
Captura de pantalla

Official figures

According to the most recent release from the Ministry of Public Health (MINSAP, by its Spanish acronym), made public at 11:30 am on May 12th, 98 individuals were injured in the accident at the Saratoga Hotel, 16 of them remain hospitalized, 38 were discharged, and 44 died. To the 44 we must add the last fatality found in the rubble in the afternoon.

If confirmed that the last body rescued from the rubble is that of a hotel worker who was still missing, then the total number of hotel employees who died in the explosion would be 25.

According to Cuban authorities, the accident at the Saratoga Hotel was caused by a liquid gas leak. Alexis Acosta Silva, mayor of La Habana Vieja, stated shortly after the tragedy that a liquid gas tank in the hotel was being filled. The hotel cook had smelled gas, checked the connections and discovered that there was a fissure in the supply hose.

Among the victims there are four children, a pregnant woman and a Spanish tourist.

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Cristina López-Cerón: the Spaniard Who Died in the Explosion at the Saratoga Hotel

Cristina Hotel Saratoga

MIAMI, United States. – Among the fatalities that resulted from last Friday morning’s explosion at the Saratoga Hotel, was Cristina López-Cerón Ugarte, a 28-year-old Spanish woman, a native of Viveiro, Lugo, who was visiting the island with César, her fiancé.

According to Spanish news medium La Noticia Digital, Cristina and César, who is seriously injured, arrived in Cuba on Thursday on vacation and were staying at a nearby hotel close to the Saratoga, where the explosion took place on the following day. The explosion has claimed 35 lives, and still counting.

The report states that the couple was strolling by the hotel when the explosion occurred. Cristina died as a result of the lesions she suffered. César was gravely injured and has been treated for various fractures.

“Cris Lo, a native of Viveiro, graduated with a degree in Economics from Universidad de Compostela, and worked in the banking industry. She had completed her master’s degree in Banking and Finances at the Oleiros Business School, in La Coruña. She was at the top of her class, a brilliant student,” the note states.

According to various sources quoted by La Noticia Digital, the couple had traveled to Cuba to celebrate César’s 30th birthday.

The accident

A gas leak caused the explosion at the hotel last Friday. The Saratoga had been closed since the start of the pandemic and was being prepped for its reopening. The entire façade of the building collapsed due to the explosion, and several adjacent buildings were damaged by the blast wave.

There were few workers inside the Saratoga Hotel, but the explosion injured many pedestrians, since the hotel is located in the heart of one of the busiest areas in the nation’s capital.

The report explained, also, that Spanish diplomatic personnel in Havana were facilitating the process of repatriation of Cristina’s remains, and that César is still in the ICU. ICU staff stated that it’s too soon to issue a prognosis.

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The Number of Casualties Has Gone Up to Forty at the Saratoga Hotel Explosion

Hotel Saratoga

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.

Safe Tourism?

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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Rosa Martorell: This Explosion Exposes Cuba’s Shortcomings “for Cubans and for Tourists”

Rosa Martorell Saratoga Cuba

MIAMI, United States. – Spanish influencer Rosa Martorell, who visited Cuba recently as a tourist and criticized the precariousness not only of the Cuban system but also the hotel facilities that the government in Havana markets as safe tourism, gave an exclusive interview to CubaNet to address the accident that occurred on Friday morning in the island, and which has resulted in many deaths.

“Many people have shared the news with me, and I am horrified because just two weeks ago I was there and I have thought that this could have happened to me staying at that hotel, or just walking by,” she told our journalist Camila Acosta.

Last Friday morning, an explosion at the Saratoga Hotel, across from the Capitol building in Havana, caused the collapse of the hotel’s façade and damaged nearby structures.

Preliminary numbers given by the Cuban government stated that there are some 20 wounded and 13 missing, and that the accident was caused by a liquid gas leak. According to [the Spanish daily] El País, the hotel was being prepped for reopening on May 10th. There were only service workers inside the building.

“This explosion demonstrates Cuba’s shortcomings, for Cubans as well as for tourists. I knew that Cuba being a socialist-communist dictatorship, thigs were not well. But I never would have though as a tourist or as a person living abroad who travels with money to the island, that it would be so difficult to buy something as simple as bottled water,’ stated Martorell.

Her visit to Cuba

“My friend and I didn’t want to do hotel tourism, so we did things on our own, which is why it was so difficult to find goods even with money on hand,” she indicated. Martorell and her friend traveled throughout the country, and visited from Viñales, Pinar del Río, Havana and Varadero (in Matanzas) to Morón, Ciego de Ávila, Cienfuegos, Trinidad, Sancti Spíritus, Santiago de Cuba and Camagüey.

Rosa Martorell gained notoriety for Cubans on social media when she published a video that criticized the way that milk was being distributed in Sancti Spíritus, and the lack of hygienic protocols in that process. Ever since then, she has been criticizing the living conditions Cubans face.

“When you learn the most is when you ask local people; they tell you more than official outlets. And people would tell me that they were worse than 10 years ago, their frustration was obvious. People only want to leave the country, they don’t have any money and they want to complaint, but are not allowed. What I took with me is that most people do not agree with the country’s situation, and that more young people are realizing every day what the dictatorship is doing to them, and society is waking up.”

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Eight People Dead Following Explosion at Saratoga Hotel

Saratoga, duelo

MADRID, Spain. – As of this moment, the explosion at the Saratoga Hotel in Havana has left eight people dead.

According to information released via Twitter, the Office of the President, another 13 people are missing and some 30 more were hospitalized, including several children.

Havana Province Health Director, Emilio Delgado Iznaga, stated that the health system in Havana is totally mobilized. It also revealed that several citizens are donating blood.

Most of the injured were transferred to the Calixto García and the Hermanos Ameijeiras hospitals.

(Captura de pantalla/Twitter)

According to official information, search and rescue operations are still going on at the hotel, where people may still remain trapped.

The explosion at the Saratoga Hotel, which took place on the morning of May 6th, caused the partial collapse of the building’s exterior façade, along with four stories of the building. It also destroyed cars and buses parked along the perimeter of the hotel. The rest of the building faces the risk of collapsing.

Up to now, details about the causes of the explosion are not known, but authorities have mentioned the possibility of a gas leak.

The reopening of the hotel was scheduled for this May 19th, after it being closed for two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Developing news…

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