Cuba ended this Thursday the search for bodies at the Saratoga hotel in Havana six days after the explosion that has claimed 45 fatalities, including that of a Spanish woman.

The last body, found this Thursday among the rubble of the basement where the hotel workers had been trapped, is that of the only person of those given as missing that remained to be found.

This is a 27-year-old hotel maid, as confirmed in its latest report by the Ministry of Public Health (Minsap).

Once the rescue tasks have been completed, the firefighters and other emergency teams, who took a break on Thursday afternoon after six days without a break, will now continue with the cleaning and debris removal work in the area where the accident occurred. .

The explosion of the Saratoga – one of the most emblematic points of the Havana historic center – has also left a long list of injured, which so far rises to 99, of which 15 remain hospitalized.

The establishment was not open to the public at the time of the explosion. The 51 workers who were inside were adapting the hotel after two years of pandemic for its reopening, scheduled for four days later, this past Tuesday.

All the deceased are of Cuban nationality – including four minors and a pregnant woman, except for the young Spanish tourist Cristina López-Cerón Ugarte, whose ashes are already in her native province of Lugo.

His partner, with the same citizenship, is still seriously admitted to a hospital in Havana, although his life is not in danger.

The Cuban government explained that the cause of the accident was a gas leak when a liquefied gas tanker truck was recharging a tank at the establishment. Several investigations have been launched to find the cause of the accident.

The shock wave affected 17 nearby buildings, where debris is still being removed. Experts will review the damage to the hotel and these properties and decide which can be recovered and which others should be demolished.

The mayor of the municipality of Old Havana, Alexis Acosta, explained that once the rescue was over, the neighboring buildings would be recovered.

“We will move on to other priority property recovery tasks, for which there is a schedule,” added the local official.

The collapse of the floors of the ground floor and the first floor above the basement made the search tasks difficult for days in an operation against the clock to save lives that concluded this Thursday.

With the rescue work completed, Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel decreed two days of official mourning, from 6:00 a.m. on May 13 to 12:00 p.m. on May 14, the official newspaper Granma reported.

“During the validity of the official duel, the Lone Star Flag must be raised at half-staff in public buildings and military institutions,” the Presidency reported in a statement.

The final fate of the establishment is unknown, with a collapsed section and the total destruction of the façade on three of its seven floors.

The Saratoga was built in 1880 and from 1911 it functioned as a hotel. Its last restoration took place in 2005, when the building was extensively renovated.

With five stars, the hotel was considered an icon of the restored historic center of the city. Stars like Beyoncé, Madonna and Mick Jagger had stayed in its suites.

The establishment is located in the Paseo del Prado, one of the main avenues of Old Havana, in the historic heart of the Cuban capital, one of the city’s great tourist attractions.

The accident occurred when the Cuban tourism sector was beginning to reactivate after three two years of forced hiatus due to the restrictions of the pandemic.

Tourism is key for Cuba, the second largest industry in terms of gross domestic product (GDP) and foreign exchange contribution, and to channel its economic recovery.

The country is going through a serious economic crisis due to the conjunction of the pandemic, the tightening of US sanctions and the failures in the national economic policy.

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