Cuban rescue teams find four more bodies at the Saratoga hotel

Cuban rescue teams find four more bodies at the Saratoga hotel

The rescue teams located four more bodies early Monday morning in the rubble of the Saratoga hotel and the number of deaths after the explosion last Friday already amounts to 35. At the moment, data or identities of the latest victims found are unknown. The injured are still 85, 24 of them hospitalized, according to the latest report from the Ministry of Health, on Sunday at 6:30, when the dead were still 31.

Hours earlier, after eleven o’clock at night on Sunday, it had been reported that the rescue forces were arriving at the basement after a backhoe had carried out the rubble, the work is focused on that floor and the sub-basement, two floors below the level of the ground, in addition to the adjoining building. In those two underground floors there was a warehouse, an office area and several shops.

“The forces will continue work even throughout the night, and we have reserve personnel and guaranteed rest for those who are working,” Colonel Luis Carlos Guzmán Matos, chief of the Fire Department, told television.

The Provincial Committee of Havana of the Communist Party of Cuba (PCC), was looking for 14 people in mid-afternoon, but after the last update on the deceased, the number stands at 10 missing whose families still have hope.

“We won’t finish working until the last worker that family is waiting for at home shows up,” said the mayor of the Old Havana municipality, Alexis Acosta, who was present in the area on Sunday afternoon.

The collapse of the floors of the ground floor and the first floor above the basement make the tasks difficult and the heavy machinery has many difficulties to operate, due to the risk of hitting the unstable structure of the building and causing further collapses.

The priority, Acosta stressed, is “to at least rescue the bodies and be able to deliver them to the families, who are very worried.”

As the hours go by, however, the chances of finding survivors among the hotel’s rubble are fading. The relatives of the disappeared wait, between anguish and hope, in a nearby public building.

As for the hospitalized injured, 19 are adults and 5 are minors. 7 people are in critical condition and 6 are classified as serious.

At a meeting of the temporary working group of the capital, the deputy director of the Office of the City Historian, Perla Rosales, said that the damage to three of the four properties of heritage value in which the entity is involved is being evaluated. The most affected are the Teatro Martí, which, according to her calculations, could be rehabilitated in the month of September, and the Baptist Church.

The Yoruba Religious Cultural Center and the Capitol suffered minor damage and the latter could be recovered as early as June.

The explosion at the Saratoga hotel occurred on Friday around 10:50 a.m. in the historic building in Old Havana and occurred at the time a truck was supplying liquefied gas to the establishment, which was under construction and was scheduled to reopen this May 10.

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