Death toll from explosion at Havana hotel rises to 40

A member of the Cuban Red Cross takes a break after working in the rubble at the site of a deadly explosion that destroyed the five-star Hotel Saratoga in Old Havana, Cuba, Monday, May 9, 2022. (AP Photo/ Ramon Espinosa)

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A member of the Cuban Red Cross takes a break after working in the rubble at the site of a deadly explosion that destroyed the five-star Hotel Saratoga in Old Havana, Cuba, Monday, May 9, 2022. (AP Photo/ Ramon Espinosa)

More bodies have been pulled from the ruins of a luxury hotel in Cuba’s capital, bringing the official death toll from a powerful explosion at the iconic building to 40

HAVANA (AP) — More bodies were pulled from the ruins of a luxury hotel in Cuba's capital Monday, bringing the official death toll of a powerful explosion at the iconic building to 40.

Dr. Julio Guerra, chief of hospital services at the Ministry of Health, said at a news conference that more bodies had been recovered in the last few hours. He added that there were still 18 people hospitalized for injuries from Friday's blast at the 19th century Hotel Saratoga.

Search crews with dogs have been hunting through debris in the hotel in Cuba's capital.

Before the latest update given by Guerra, the toll of dead was 35, and 20 injured patients were listed as being hospitalized.

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

Several nearby structures also were damaged, including the historic Marti Theater and the Calvary Baptist Church, headquarters for the denomination in western Cuba.

Authorities said an investigation was underway to determine the cause of the explosion at the hotel, which is owned by Grupo de Turismo Gaviota SA, one of the businesses run by the Cuban military.

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Rescue workers look on after recovering a body from the rubble at the site of a deadly explosion that destroyed the five-star Hotel Saratoga in Old Havana, Cuba, Monday, May 9, 2022. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

Credit: Ramon Espinosa

Rescue workers look on after recovering a body from the rubble at the site of a deadly explosion that destroyed the five-star Hotel Saratoga in Old Havana, Cuba, Monday, May 9, 2022. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

Credit: Ramon Espinosa

caption arrowCaption
Rescue workers look on after recovering a body from the rubble at the site of a deadly explosion that destroyed the five-star Hotel Saratoga in Old Havana, Cuba, Monday, May 9, 2022. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

Credit: Ramon Espinosa

Credit: Ramon Espinosa

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Beatriz Cespedes shows a photo on her phone of her 27-year-old sister Shaidis Cobas who works as a waitress at the Hotel Saratoga and who is still unaccounted for, while she waits for news about her near the site of a deadly explosion that destroyed the five-star hotel in Old Havana, Cuba, Monday, May 9, 2022. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

Credit: Ramon Espinosa

Beatriz Cespedes shows a photo on her phone of her 27-year-old sister Shaidis Cobas who works as a waitress at the Hotel Saratoga and who is still unaccounted for, while she waits for news about her near the site of a deadly explosion that destroyed the five-star hotel in Old Havana, Cuba, Monday, May 9, 2022. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

Credit: Ramon Espinosa

caption arrowCaption
Beatriz Cespedes shows a photo on her phone of her 27-year-old sister Shaidis Cobas who works as a waitress at the Hotel Saratoga and who is still unaccounted for, while she waits for news about her near the site of a deadly explosion that destroyed the five-star hotel in Old Havana, Cuba, Monday, May 9, 2022. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

Credit: Ramon Espinosa

Credit: Ramon Espinosa

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A relative of one of the persons still missing from a deadly explosion that destroyed the five-star Hotel Saratoga, holds his head as he waits for news near the site of the explosion, in Old Havana, Cuba, Monday, May 9, 2022. (AP Photo/ Ramon Espinosa)

Credit: Ramon Espinosa

A relative of one of the persons still missing from a deadly explosion that destroyed the five-star Hotel Saratoga, holds his head as he waits for news near the site of the explosion, in Old Havana, Cuba, Monday, May 9, 2022. (AP Photo/ Ramon Espinosa)

Credit: Ramon Espinosa

caption arrowCaption
A relative of one of the persons still missing from a deadly explosion that destroyed the five-star Hotel Saratoga, holds his head as he waits for news near the site of the explosion, in Old Havana, Cuba, Monday, May 9, 2022. (AP Photo/ Ramon Espinosa)

Credit: Ramon Espinosa

Credit: Ramon Espinosa

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Furniture, a stuffed toy and portraits adorn the walls of a home destroyed by a deadly explosion at the nearby five-star Hotel Saratoga, in Old Havana, Cuba, Monday, May 9, 2022. ( AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

Credit: Ramon Espinosa

Furniture, a stuffed toy and portraits adorn the walls of a home destroyed by a deadly explosion at the nearby five-star Hotel Saratoga, in Old Havana, Cuba, Monday, May 9, 2022. ( AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

Credit: Ramon Espinosa

caption arrowCaption
Furniture, a stuffed toy and portraits adorn the walls of a home destroyed by a deadly explosion at the nearby five-star Hotel Saratoga, in Old Havana, Cuba, Monday, May 9, 2022. ( AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

Credit: Ramon Espinosa

Credit: Ramon Espinosa

caption arrowCaption
Members of the Cuban Red Cross take a break after working in the rubble at the site of a deadly explosion that destroyed the five-star Hotel Saratoga in Old Havana, Cuba, Monday, May 9, 2022. (AP Photo/ Ramon Espinosa)

Credit: Ramon Espinosa

Members of the Cuban Red Cross take a break after working in the rubble at the site of a deadly explosion that destroyed the five-star Hotel Saratoga in Old Havana, Cuba, Monday, May 9, 2022. (AP Photo/ Ramon Espinosa)

Credit: Ramon Espinosa

caption arrowCaption
Members of the Cuban Red Cross take a break after working in the rubble at the site of a deadly explosion that destroyed the five-star Hotel Saratoga in Old Havana, Cuba, Monday, May 9, 2022. (AP Photo/ Ramon Espinosa)

Credit: Ramon Espinosa

Credit: Ramon Espinosa

caption arrowCaption
A member of the rescue team speaks with relatives of those still missing from the site of a deadly explosion that destroyed the five-star Hotel Saratoga in Old Havana, Cuba, Monday, May 9, 2022. (AP Photo/ Ramon Espinosa)

Credit: Ramon Espinosa

A member of the rescue team speaks with relatives of those still missing from the site of a deadly explosion that destroyed the five-star Hotel Saratoga in Old Havana, Cuba, Monday, May 9, 2022. (AP Photo/ Ramon Espinosa)

Credit: Ramon Espinosa

caption arrowCaption
A member of the rescue team speaks with relatives of those still missing from the site of a deadly explosion that destroyed the five-star Hotel Saratoga in Old Havana, Cuba, Monday, May 9, 2022. (AP Photo/ Ramon Espinosa)

Credit: Ramon Espinosa

Credit: Ramon Espinosa

caption arrowCaption
Rescue workers watch as members of the coroner´s team load a body recovered from the rubble into their vehicle, at the site of a deadly explosion that destroyed the five-star Hotel Saratoga in Old Havana, Cuba, Monday, May 9, 2022. ( AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

Credit: Ramon Espinosa

Rescue workers watch as members of the coroner´s team load a body recovered from the rubble into their vehicle, at the site of a deadly explosion that destroyed the five-star Hotel Saratoga in Old Havana, Cuba, Monday, May 9, 2022. ( AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

Credit: Ramon Espinosa

caption arrowCaption
Rescue workers watch as members of the coroner´s team load a body recovered from the rubble into their vehicle, at the site of a deadly explosion that destroyed the five-star Hotel Saratoga in Old Havana, Cuba, Monday, May 9, 2022. ( AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

Credit: Ramon Espinosa

Credit: Ramon Espinosa

caption arrowCaption
A member of a rescue team carries a stretcher after recovering a body from the rubble and loading it into a coroner´s vehicle, at the site of a deadly explosion that destroyed the five-star Hotel Saratoga in Old Havana, Cuba, Monday, May 9, 2022. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

Credit: Ramon Espinosa

A member of a rescue team carries a stretcher after recovering a body from the rubble and loading it into a coroner´s vehicle, at the site of a deadly explosion that destroyed the five-star Hotel Saratoga in Old Havana, Cuba, Monday, May 9, 2022. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

Credit: Ramon Espinosa

caption arrowCaption
A member of a rescue team carries a stretcher after recovering a body from the rubble and loading it into a coroner´s vehicle, at the site of a deadly explosion that destroyed the five-star Hotel Saratoga in Old Havana, Cuba, Monday, May 9, 2022. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

Credit: Ramon Espinosa

Credit: Ramon Espinosa

caption arrowCaption
Rescue workers watch as members of the coroner´s team load a body recovered from the rubble into their vehicle, at the site of a deadly explosion that destroyed the five-star Hotel Saratoga in Old Havana, Cuba, Monday, May 9, 2022. ( AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

Credit: Ramon Espinosa

Rescue workers watch as members of the coroner´s team load a body recovered from the rubble into their vehicle, at the site of a deadly explosion that destroyed the five-star Hotel Saratoga in Old Havana, Cuba, Monday, May 9, 2022. ( AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

Credit: Ramon Espinosa

caption arrowCaption
Rescue workers watch as members of the coroner´s team load a body recovered from the rubble into their vehicle, at the site of a deadly explosion that destroyed the five-star Hotel Saratoga in Old Havana, Cuba, Monday, May 9, 2022. ( AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

Credit: Ramon Espinosa

Credit: Ramon Espinosa

caption arrowCaption
Members of a rescue team search through the rubble at the site of a deadly explosion that destroyed the five-star Hotel Saratoga in Old Havana, Cuba, Sunday, May 8, 2022. (AP Photo/Ramón Espinosa)

Credit: Ramon Espinosa

Members of a rescue team search through the rubble at the site of a deadly explosion that destroyed the five-star Hotel Saratoga in Old Havana, Cuba, Sunday, May 8, 2022. (AP Photo/Ramón Espinosa)

Credit: Ramon Espinosa

caption arrowCaption
Members of a rescue team search through the rubble at the site of a deadly explosion that destroyed the five-star Hotel Saratoga in Old Havana, Cuba, Sunday, May 8, 2022. (AP Photo/Ramón Espinosa)

Credit: Ramon Espinosa

Credit: Ramon Espinosa