(Havana) Cuban authorities have declared national mourning after the body of the last missing victim was discovered Thursday in the rubble of a hotel in Havana blown up by an accidental explosion, which brings the death toll to 45 dead.

“Faced with the unfortunate accident that occurred at the Hotel Saratoga on May 6, in which 44 compatriots and a Spanish national perished, and after the conclusion of the rescue operations, the President of the Republic of Cuba (Miguel Diaz-Canel) decreed national mourning,” according to a statement read on television.

National mourning, lasting 42 hours, will begin Friday at dawn and end Saturday at midnight. The flags will be lowered, it is specified.

Shortly before, Colonel Luis Carlos Guzman, fire chief, had announced to the press the discovery of the body of the last missing person in the rubble of the hotel, several floors of which were destroyed by an explosion when a truck- cistern supplied it with gas.

The death toll from the accident is 45, including four children, a pregnant woman and a 29-year-old Spanish tourist.

According to the Ministry of Health, the accidental explosion also injured 54 people, 16 of whom remained hospitalized on Thursday, including four minors. Two of them were still in critical condition.

The Saratoga, known for hosting several celebrities in recent years including Mick Jagger, Beyoncé and Madonna, had been closed for two years due to the pandemic and was preparing to reopen to the public on May 10 after renovations.

Built in 1880 to house shops, the building was transformed into a hotel in 1933 and became a luxury establishment in 2005.

https://www.lapresse.ca/international/caraibes/2022-05-12/explosion-dans-un-hotel-cubain/une-45e-victime-decouverte-deuil-national-decrete.php

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