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Havana Hotel Tragedy: 22 Dead, Dozens Injured after Explosion in Historic Hotel
By Staff, Agencies
The Cuban government announced that “At least 22 people have been killed and more than 70 injured after a large explosion ripped through a historic hotel in Havana.”
In a series of tweets on Friday afternoon, President Miguel Diaz-Canel’s office said preliminary investigations indicated that the explosion at the five-star Hotel Saratoga in Old Havana was caused by a gas leak.
“In no case was it a bomb or an attack,” he said as he left the capital’s Calixto Garcia hospital, where many of the injured were treated. ‘It’s just a very unfortunate accident.”
Diaz-Canel, who also visited the site of the explosion, extended his “deepest condolences” to the victims’ loved ones.
The hotel’s first four floors were gutted in the late-morning explosion that sent a cloud of dust and smoke billowing into the air. It tore off large parts of the facade, blew out windows and destroyed cars parked outside the hotel, while the dome of a nearby Baptist church also collapsed.
While there were no guests, workers were preparing for the hotel’s reopening in four days’ time.
The hotel was remodeled 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.
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