A gas leak is believed to have caused the explosion at the Saratoga hotel, according to the Cuban presidential office, which said more details would follow soon.
“The first secretary of the party in Havana, Luis Antonio Torres Iribar, explained that so far 4 people have been confirmed dead. Search and rescue efforts are continuing at the hotel, where people may still be trapped,” the Cuban presidential office said. In a Friday tweet, she added, “Everything indicates that the explosion was caused by an accident.”
Witnesses described a “huge explosion” that appeared to destroy buses and cars outside the hotel in the city center.
Pictures from the scene showed the smashed facade of at least three floors of the ornate green and white stucco building. Plumes of dust and smoke were seen rising around the rubble on the ground.
Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel visited the site of the blast on Friday, while Mexico’s foreign minister tweeted his solidarity with the victims.
“Our solidarity with the victims and those affected, as well as the people of that sister nation,” Marcelo Ebrard said in a tweet.
This is an evolving story and will be updated.
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