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Havana hotel blast toll rises to 31

The death toll from an explosion at a luxury hotel in Havana’s old quarter rose to 31 on Sunday, authorities said, as Cuban firefighters continued to comb through the rubble.

Twenty-four people were being treated in hospital, said the public health ministry, after the powerful blast Friday thought to have been caused by a gas leak. The previous death toll was 30.

Crews keep looking for victims and “until they are found I do not think there will be an end” to the rescue operation, said Alexis Acosta, the mayor of Havana’s old quarter, reports AFP.

The five-star hotel had been closed for business during renovation work, and many victims of the late-morning explosion were construction workers or hotel employees preparing for its reopening, which was to have been next week.