Eight Dead After Huge Explosion In Havana

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At least eight people have died and more than 30 have been injured after a massive explosion rocked one of Cuba’s most exclusive five-star hotels.

The blast at the Saratoga Hotel in Old Havana on Friday appears to have been caused by a gas leak, according to local officials.

The historic five-storey building was set for a post-pandemic reopening in four days.

It now lies in ruins, with much of its outer wall torn off.

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Search and rescue operations are currently underway to locate people trapped under the debris.

The injured are being treated at nearby hospitals.

Yazira de la Caridad, who lives a block from the hotel, told CBS News she “thought [the explosion] was an earthquake”.

Witnesses said they saw plumes of black smoke and clouds of dust billowing into the sky following the explosion.

A school which is located directly behind the hotel was unaffected, with local officials confirming all its children have been safely evacuated.

Cuba’s President Miguel Diaz-Canel has visited the damage site, which sits opposite the government’s old congressional building. The president said: “It was not a bomb or an attack, it’s an unfortunate accident.”

The incident comes as tourism in the country was re-emerging from two difficult years caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Saratoga Hotel had been closed for refurbishment during much of this period.

The 19th century building is synonymous in Havana with visiting celebrities – after stars such as Madonna, Beyonce and Mick Jagger stayed there during the thaw between Havana and Washington under President Barack Obama.
Source: BBC News
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Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff
Our Editorial Staff at St. Lucia Times is a team publishing news and other articles to over 200,000 regular monthly readers in Saint Lucia and in over 150 other countries worldwide.

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