Death toll from Havana hotel explosion rises to 35

More bodies were pulled from the ruins of a luxury hotel in the Cuban capital on Monday, bringing the official death toll from a powerful explosion at the iconic building to 35.

Cuban fire chief Luis Guzman told state television that three more bodies were found overnight as search teams with dogs hunted for hours through the debris of the 19th-century structure of the Saratoga hotel.

The Health Ministry later said the death toll had risen to 35, with 20 injured still hospitalized.

The five-star, 96-room hotel in Old Havana was preparing to reopen after being closed for two years when an apparent gas leak ignited, blasting exterior walls on busy streets in the mid-morning a block away of Capitol Houses nationwide on Friday.

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

Authorities said the cause of the explosion at the hotel owned by Grupo de Turismo Gaviota SA was still under investigation.