At Least 18 Killed as Hotel Saratoga Devastated by Blast in Centre of Havana, Cuba
15:49 GMT 06.05.2022 (Updated: 22:53 GMT 06.05.2022)
© AFP 2022 / ADALBERTO ROQUERescuers work after an explosion in the Saratoga Hotel in Havana, on May 6, 2022. - A powerful explosion Friday destroyed part of a hotel under repair in central Havana, AFP witnessed, with no casualties immediately reported. (Photo by ADALBERTO ROQUE / AFP)
Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel ruled out on Friday the possibility that the explosion in the hotel was a terrorist attack, rather it was "an unfortunate accident." Diaz-Canel arrived at the hotel blast site with Cuban Prime Minister Manuel Marrero Cruz and head of Cuban parliament Esteban Lazo.
An explosion has rocked the centre of the Cuban capital, Havana, devastating the Hotel Saratoga, which is located near the National Capitol Building.
The Cuban president said that 18 people have been confirmed dead following the blast at Saratoga and that 40 more have been hospitalised with various injuries. The statement added that search and rescue efforts continue at the site.
The photos from the site of the incident show that a significant part of the building was destroyed, although most of it remains standing.
Cuban officials suspect that the explosion happened as a result of an accident. Local media outlets floated the theory that it might have happened when liquefied gas was pumped from a cistern.
First videos from the site of the incident also emerged online, showing the extent of the destruction of the Hotel Saratoga.
The hotel was originally built back in 1880, but underwent a reconstruction in 2005.