The Middletown Press (Middletown, CT)

Hotel death toll at 30 as dogs search for survivors


Search crews with dogs on Sunday hunted through the ruins of a luxury hotel in Cuba’s capital for survivors of a devastatin­g explosion while officials raised the number of known dead to 30.

The Hotel Saratoga, a five-star 96-room hotel in Old Havana, was preparing to reopen after being closed for two years when an apparent gas leak ignited, blowing the outer walls into the busy, midmorning streets just a block from the country’s Capitol building on Friday.

Cuban officials on Sunday raised the known death toll to 30 from 27 even as crews continued to search for victims buried beneath piles of shattered concrete. Several nearby structures also were damaged, including the historic Marti Theater and the Calvary Baptist Church, headquarte­rs for the denominati­on in western Cuba.

The Health Ministry said 84 people had been injured in Friday’s explosion. The dead included four minors, a pregnant woman and a Spanish tourist, whose companion was seriously injured.

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