Thu | Oct 6, 2022

Hotel in Cuban capital damaged by explosion, eight deaths reported

Published:Friday | May 6, 2022 | 1:16 PM
The five-star Hotel Saratoga is heavily damaged after an explosion in Old Havana, Cuba, Friday, May 6, 2022. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

HAVANA (AP) — A powerful explosion apparently caused by a gas leak blew away much of the outer walls of a five-star hotel in the heart of Cuba's capital on Friday and officials reported at least eight people had died.

But no tourists were lodged at the 96-room Hotel Saratoga because it was undergoing renovations, Havana Governor Reinaldo García Zapata told the Communist Party newspaper Granma.

The early morning blast that devastated the 19th-century structure in Old Havana apparently was due to a gas leak, according to the Twitter account of the office of President Miguel Díaz-Canel, who went to the site.

It said at least eight people had been killed and that search and rescue efforts were underway for people possibly trapped.

Granma said local officials reported 13 people missing and about 30 known injured. A school next door was evacuated and local news media said none of the children had been hurt.

Police cordoned off the area as firefighters and ambulance crews worked inside.

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