At least 8 dead after possible gas leak causes explosion at Hotel Saratoga in downtown Havana

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A sign for the five-star Hotel Saratoga hangs amid the rubble after it was heavily damaged by a deadly explosion in Old Havana, Cuba, Friday, May 6, 2022.

Rescue workers scoured for survivors after a large explosion rocked an upscale hotel in downtown Havana on Friday, killing at least eight people and injuring 30 others, Cuban officials said.

Residents and tourists scattered after the blast while police and rescue workers flocked to the area and started combing through the rubble left behind at the Hotel Saratoga, a five-star hotel in the historic center of Havana. The 19th century hotel is just across the street from Cuba’s Capitol building and frequents high-profile guests. 

A preliminary investigation indicated the explosion was caused by a gas leak, according to a stream of updates posted on President Miguel Díaz-Canel’s Twitter account. Díaz-Canel arrived at the scene shortly after the explosion and then visited a hospital where victims are being treated, video and photos shared on social media show.

Updates posted by the president indicate Luis Antonio Torres Iribar, the first secretary of the Party in Havana, said at least 13 people are still missing and might be trapped. Video on social media showed crowds flocking to the rubble with their cell phones out and workers picking up large blocks, looking for any trace of those missing. 


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