14ymedio, Havana, 13 May 2022 — Saturday’s explosion at the Saratoga hotel a week ago has taken another life according to an announcement by the Ministry of Public Health. This raises the death toll to forty-six.
The victim was Jose Antonio Ferrer Acanda, a 63-year-old Havana resident, who was taken to Calixto Garcia Hospital in the city’s Vedado district.
As of 10:00 on Friday, thirteen people remain hospitalized, four of them minors. Two are in serious condition, one critical and another stable.
Twenty-three of those who died in the explosion on Thursday worked at the hotel. The rest were passing through the building, lived in neighboring buildings, or were pedestrians who had the terrible misfortune of walking past the hotel at the exact moment of the blast. The explosion has been attributed to improper handling of liquified natural gas during transfer from a delivery truck to the Saratoga’s storage tank
Among the victims was a Spanish citizen, whose remains arrived in her native country on Thursday.
The explosion occurred on Friday, May 6, around 10:50 AM and sent shock waves throughout Havana. That day the hotel was conducting interviews in anticipation of the hotel’s scheduled reopening on May 10, with employees and job applicants present in the Human Resources area.
Responding to pressure from social media, and seven days after the tragedy, the Cuban government announced a period of mourning to be observed from at 6:00 AM on May 13 and until midnight on May 14. During such periods, flags are typically lowered to half-mast, and public performances and festivities are suspended.
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