Death toll from Havana hotel blast rises to 42

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The death toll from last week’s explosion at a historic hotel in downtown Havana climbed to 42, after two more bodies were recovered from the rubble, official sources said.

As many as 96 people were injured in the blast at the five-star Saratoga Hotel, and 13 adults and five minors remain hospitalised at six city hospitals, Xinhua news agency reported, citing the Public Health Ministry.

Rescue teams continued to sift through the debris in search of three people, two chambermaids and a cook, reported missing, said Roberto Enriquez, spokesman for the state-run hotel management group Gaviota.

At the time of the accident, said Enriquez, 51 employees were in the building: 23 of them died in the explosion, 22 have been discharged from hospital, and three remain hospitalised.

The accident occurred around noon on Friday when a tanker truck carrying some 10,000 liters of liquefied gas exploded.

Located near the National Capitol, headquarters of Cuba’s National Assembly of People’s Power, the Saratoga was preparing to reopen on Tuesday as part of the country’s tourism recovery efforts, after closing for renovation.

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