LAST UPDATE: 21:25
A huge explosion caused severe damage to an iconic hotel in central Havana, killing at least eight people and injuring more than 30 as rescue workers and passersby dug into the rubble in search of more victims, according to the Cuban government. Wall Street Journal.
The office of the Cuban president said in a tweet that eight people had died and more than 30 had been injured and were being treated at a local hospital. President Miguel Dias-Canel and other high-ranking officials rushed to the scene.
Photos and videos posted on social media showed smoke rising from the exploded shell of the five-story neoclassical Saratoga Hotel.
A video showed rescuers digging into the wreckage to pull out a victim. It also shows two people alive who were stuck on the third floor of the building, which had been blown up most of its facade.
Saratoga has been refurbished in recent years as Cuba seeks to attract tourists as part of its efforts to reshape its economy. This is a luxury hotel, which has a swimming pool on its roof, according to the hotel website.
Early reports spoke of an explosion following a gas leak, according to the state-run Granma newspaper, citing local officials.
– Loira Rodriguez (@Loireta) May 6, 2022
A big explosion caused serious damage to the Hotel Saratoga, in the Cuban capital Havana. Videos have emerged of people trying to rescue the wounded, but still no word of deaths
The cause of the explosion is unknown pic.twitter.com/kbOkRY4TC1
– Bellum et Pax 🇧🇷 (@BellumPaxBR) May 6, 2022
A violent match took place in the Saratoga Hotel, centrally located in central Havana, Cuba. pic.twitter.com/WcMVtnSyh4
– Whisper (@whisperhaber) May 6, 2022
Scenes from the explosion at the Hotel Saratoga in Havana, Cuba.
– Commander Shinji 🇨🇺 (@ShinjiTheCuban) May 6, 2022