At least 22 dead in Hotel Saratoga explosion in Havana, Cuba

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At least 22 dead in Hotel Saratoga explosion in Havana, Cuba

At least 22 people were killed and dozens more injured during a powerful gas explosion that rocked a landmark hotel in Havana, Cuba, according to multiple reports.

Cuban authorities said 21 adults and a child are confirmed dead and that 50 adults and 14 minors were injured and being treated at local hospitals after Friday’s explosion caused by a gas leak at the Hotel Saratoga, according to the Wall Street Journal.

“This wasn’t a bomb or an attack, it was a lamentable accident,” said Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel, who rushed to the scene along with other high-ranking Cuban officials.  “Our most heartfelt condolences…to the families and those close to the victims.”

The five-story hotel was undergoing repairs and no tourists were inside, the state-run newspaper Granma reported. It had been scheduled to reopen on May 10.

The blast nevertheless set off a brief wave of panic through historic downtown Havana neighborhood, which has gradually begun reopening to tourists after the pandemic devastated Cuba’s travel sector.

View of the Saratoga Hotel after a powerful explosion in Havana, on May 6, 2022.
The Saratoga Hotel exploded in Havana, on May 6, 2022.
AFP via Getty Images
A person is carried away on a trolley after a powerful explosion at the Saratoga Hotel in Havana, on May 6, 2022.
A person is carried away on a stretcher after a powerful explosion at the Saratoga Hotel in Havana on May 6, 2022.
AFP via Getty Images
The five-star Hotel Saratoga is heavily damaged after an explosion in Old Havana, Cuba, Friday, May 6, 2022.
The five-star Hotel Saratoga is heavily damaged after an explosion in Havana, Cuba on May 6, 2022.
AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa
Rescue teams recover a body at the site of a deadly explosion that destroyed the five-star Hotel Saratoga, in Havana, Cuba, Friday, May 6, 2022.
Rescue teams recover a body at the site of a deadly explosion that destroyed the five-star Hotel Saratoga, in Havana, Cuba on May 6, 2022.
AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa

The explosion also rattled a nearby school with more than 300 students in attendance, health authorities told Reuters.

The hotel has been frequented by celebrities such as Beyoncé and Jay-Z — who stayed there when they visited Cuba in 2013 —  and political figures including high-ranking US government delegations.

With Post wires

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