Photos that surfaced on social media showed several damaged floors of the Hotel Saratoga. According to Reuters, the hotel was remodeled by a British company after the fall of the Soviet Union.
New Delhi: At least eight persons died and 30 others were left injured in a “powerful blast” suspected to have been triggered by a gas leak on Friday at a five-star hotel in central Havana, the Cuban government said.
Photos that surfaced on social media showed several damaged floors of the Hotel Saratoga. According to Reuters, 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. Recently, it had lost some of its shine with the opening of new hotels in Havana, but was still a five-star venue.
“So far, eight people have died and about 30 are hospitalized,” the Cuban presidency tweeted. The first four floors of the establishment, which was empty of guests while being renovated, were destroyed, said Agence France-Presse.
AFP also said, Ambulances and fire trucks have been rushed to the scene and police cordoned off the area, dispersing people who swarmed to the site.
President Miguel Diaz-Canel, accompanied by Prime Minister Manuel Marrero and National Assembly President Esteban Lazo arrived at the scene as the rescue operation got underway.
According to the website of the Saratoga Hotel, it is an upmarket establishment with 96 rooms, two bars, two restaurants, a spa and gym.
Mexico’s Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard, meanwhile, said President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador would not cancel a trip to Cuba planned for Sunday. “Our solidarity to the victims and affected, as well as to the people of that dear brotherly people,” the minister tweeted.
(With Agency inputs)