At least 4 dead after explosion rocks hotel in downtown Havana | News

Cuban president’s office says a preliminary investigation indicates blast at Hotel Saratoga was caused by a gas leak.

At least four people have been killed after a large explosion destroyed part of a hotel in downtown Havana, the Cuban president’s office has said.

In a series of tweets on Friday afternoon, the presidency said preliminary investigations indicated that the explosion at Hotel Saratoga was caused by a gas leak.

The office said at least four people were confirmed dead so far and that 13 others were missing.

Photos from Granma, the Cuban Communist Party’s official daily, showed images of the multi-storey hotel whose walls appeared to have been blown out by the blast.

Shortly after 11am local time (15:00 GMT), a cloud of dust and smoke billowed from the hotel.

Police and rescue workers flocked to the scene, cordoning off key points and buildings nearby, including the historic Capitolio building.

The five-star, 96-room hotel in Old Havana has two bars, two restaurants and a rooftop pool, according to its website.

The hotel was remodelled by a British company after the fall of the Soviet Union and was considered the place to go for visiting government officials and celebrities for many years.

It had been set for a post-pandemic reopening in four days, according to its Facebook page.

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