At least 22 people were killed on Friday, May 6, following a powerful explosion caused by a gas leak that partially destroyed the Saratoga Hotel in central Havana, Cuba. Four bodies were recovered from the rubble in the evening, an hour after the official death toll was announced at 18, including a child, and more than 50 were injured, the TV news reported.
Authorities said the survivors were under the rubble and sent a rescue squad to search for them, including a woman who had been in contact with rescue workers. “So far, 74 people have been injured, of which 18 have unfortunately died.”Julio Guerra, head of hospital services at the Ministry of Health, told a news conference, including a child.
The Cuban presidential office said 64 people had been injured and 18 had been killed in the blast. Earlier, Miguel Garcia, director of Calicut Garcia Hospital, where some of the injured were being treated, said there were eleven of them. “In a very serious condition”.
“Two-year-old child undergoes skull fracture surgery”Said Miguel Hernan Esteves, director of Hermanos Almegiros Hospital. For his part, Louis Antonio Torres Iripar, the first secretary of the Communist Party in Havana, noted the afternoon. “13 missing” And rated “Others may be stuck” Under the rubble. Authorities say none of the victims were foreigners.
An iconic hotel
With a green facade in the center of old Havana, the hotel under construction has been closed to tourists for two years. Only staff were preparing for its reopening, which was scheduled for May 10. “According to initial findings, the explosion was caused by a gas leak”This was mentioned on the Twitter account of the President of Cuba.
According to Alexis Costa Silva, the historic district chairman of the Cuban capital Alexis Costa Silva, the liquefied gas cylinder was replaced at the hotel. The cook smelled gas and discovered there were cracks in the pipe, which was the cause of the explosion.
“It’s not a bomb, it’s not an attack, it’s a tragic accident.”Shortly afterwards, President Miguel Diaz-Colonel said he wanted to put an end to rumors circulating on social media about the bombings of several hotels provided by Cuban exiles in the 1990s.
The first four floors of the 5-star rated Saratoga Hotel, which has 96 rooms, two restaurants and a rooftop pool, exploded at 11am. A few minutes after the eruption, a stone was thrown from the famous Capitol, spreading a thick plume of smoke and dust on Avenue du Prado, where the establishment is located.
Emotion from Washington to Caracas
A dozen ambulances and five fire trucks were mobilized. Towards the end of the afternoon, the tanker was ejected while a machine was gradually clearing the rubble. Several vehicles were destroyed near the hotel, which is known to have hosted many celebrities in recent years, including Mick Jagger, Beyonc மற்றும் and Madonna. Built in 1880 to house shops, the building was converted into a hotel in 1933 and converted into a luxury company in 2005.
Washington, State Department spokesman Nate Price “Deepest condolences to all affected by the tragic eruption”. European diplomat Joseph Borel said on Twitter that he had spoken with Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez. “Stay interested in the situation after the bombing in Havana and convey my condolences to him and my solidarity with the Cuban people.”.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, Cuba’s close ally, has invited his Cuban president to offer his condolences: “The Cuban people enjoy the solidarity and support of the people of the world, and especially of the Bolivian people of Venezuela.”.
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