“So far eight people have died and about 30 are hospitalised,” the Cuban president said on Twitter.
Not long ago, Luis Antonio Torres Iribar, the Communist Party’s first secretary in Havana, reported that “13 people were missing” and warned: “Search and rescue operations are ongoing at the hotel, where others may have been trapped.” “Under the rubble.
The hotel under construction was closed for tourists.
“Preliminary findings indicate the explosion was caused by a gas leak,” the Cuban president’s account said on Twitter.
According to Alexis Costa Silva, local leader of Havana’s Historic District, quoted by state media CubeDebt, a canister of liquefied gas was being replaced at the hotel. The cook smelled the gas and discovered a crack in the pipe, which caused the explosion.
“a terrible explosion”
The first four floors of the Saratoga Hotel, which was classified 5 stars with 96 rooms, two restaurants and a rooftop swimming pool, were blown up in an explosion that occurred at 11:00 local time (1500 GMT) and landed. Scattered were debris and pieces of glass, noted AFP journalist.
Minutes after the explosion, a thick cloud of smoke and dust spread across Avenue du Prado, where the hotel is located, a stone’s throw from the famous Capitol public building.
“We felt a huge explosion and a cloud of dust that reached the park (in front of the hotel, editor’s note), many people fled,” testified AFP Rogelio García, a man passing in front of Saratoga. He was the driver of a bicitaxi. explosion time.
“There was a terrible explosion and everything collapsed,” said one woman, her face covered with dust, who did not want to be named.
Several vehicles were also destroyed near this hotel, which has been known to host a number of celebrities in recent years, including Madonna and Beyoncé.
Police, who arrived in large numbers, cordoned off the perimeter while emergency services searched for possible additional victims in the rubble on the hotel floor. AFP said at least two ambulances and five fire tenders were at the scene.
President Miguel Diaz-Canel, accompanied by Prime Minister Manuel Marrero and National Assembly Speaker Esteban Lazo, arrived in the afternoon before heading to the hospital where the wounded were being treated.
A school is located right next to the hotel, but fortunately, “all the children were evacuated and no one was injured”, the Cuban president indicated.
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