HAVANA (CBSMiami/AP) — The death toll has risen to at least 40 after more bodies were pulled from the ruins of a luxury hotel in Cuba’s capital on Monday.
Dr. Julio Guerra, chief of hospital services at the Ministry of Health, said at a news conference that there were still 18 people hospitalized for injuries from Friday’s blast at the 19th century Hotel Saratoga.
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Search crews with dogs have been hunting through debris in the hotel in Havana.
Before the latest update given by Guerra, the toll of dead was 35, and 20 injured patients were listed as being hospitalized.
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The 96-room, five-star hotel in Old Havana was preparing to reopen after being closed for two years when an apparent gas leak ignited Friday, blowing the outer walls into the busy, midmorning streets just a block from Cuba’s capitol.
Several nearby structures also were damaged, including the historic Marti Theater and the Calvary Baptist Church, headquarters for the denomination in western Cuba.
Authorities said an investigation was underway to determine the cause of the explosion at the hotel, which is owned by Grupo de Turismo Gaviota SA, one of the businesses run by the Cuban military.
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Explosion At Havana Hotel, Death Toll Rises To 40 – CBS Miami