At least 18 killed in Havana hotel explosion
Havana, May 7, 2022
At least 18 people died and more than 50 others were injured in a powerful explosion that ripped through a luxury hotel in downtown Havana on Friday morning, official sources said.
Julio Guerra, head of the Cuban Health Ministry's hospital services, confirmed the figure during a press conference, media reports said.
"The provincial director of health, Emilio Delgado Iznaga, confirms that the health system in Havana is fully active," the Cuban Presidential Office said in a tweet earlier on Friday, adding that "several people are offering blood donations."
A gas leak is thought to be the cause of the explosion at Hotel Saratoga, according to the Cuban Presidential Office.
The five-star hotel, located near the National Capitol building, was preparing to reopen in the next few days as part of the revival of tourism industry on the island.
According to social media reports shared by the state media Cubadebate, the explosion apparently occurred while the facility was carrying out operations with liquefied gas.
Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel went to the scene of the incident and to a local hospital in Havana, where several of the injured were being cared for, according to images published by the Cuban Presidential Office on its Twitter account.