A pregnant woman, a Spanish tourist and four minors are among at least 30 killed in a blast at a luxury hotel in Cuba.

Search crews with dogs have been hunting through the ruins of the five-star Hotel Saratoga, looking for survivors of the apparent gas explosion.

The 96-room hotel in Old Havana had been preparing to reopen to guests after being closed for two years before the disaster on Friday.

Today, Cuban officials raised the known death toll from 27 to 30.

The force of the blast sheared outer walls from the building and damaged several nearby structures, including the historic Marti Theatre and the Calvary Baptist Church, the headquarters for the denomination in western Cuba.

The Health Ministry said 84 people had been injured while some 24 people remained in hospital, according to the Health Ministry.

On Saturday, a representative of Grupo de Turismo Gaviota, which owns the hotel, said 13 of its workers were missing.

Governor Reinaldo Garcia Zapata said on Saturday evening that 19 families had reported loved ones missing and that rescue efforts would continue.






Authorities said the cause of the explosion was still under investigation, but believed it to have been caused by a gas leak. A large crane hoisted a charred gas tanker out of the rubble on Saturday.

Crews worked to clean up the surrounding streets and by late yesterday, pedestrians were able to walk by again.

It is another blow to the tourist industry in Cuba. Even before the coronavirus pandemic kept tourists away, the country was struggling with tightened sanctions imposed by former Donald Trump and kept in place by the Biden administration.

Those limited visits by US tourists to the islands and restricted remittances from Cubans in the US to their families in Cuba.

Tourism had started to revive early this year, but the war in Ukraine deflated a boom of Russian visitors, who accounted for almost a third of tourists in Cuba last year.

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