Violent explosion in a five-star hotel – 22 people die

According to the president’s office, 13 people were missing. “Search and rescue operations continue at the hotel, where other people could be trapped,” the presidential office said.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the famous five-star hotel, a short walk from the Capitol, has been closed for about two years. It is expected to reopen next Tuesday.

Tank in the rubble

A witness reported that the hotel was supplied with liquid gas at the time of the explosion, reported “Granma”, the newspaper of the Communist Party of Cuba. As a result, construction work also took place at the hotel. Photos showed a tanker being pulled out of the rubble.

Havana, Cuba: A crane pulls a tanker truck out of the rubble of the Saratoga Hotel. (Source: Ramon Espinosa/AP//dpa-images)

“We felt a huge explosion and a cloud of dust that reached the park (in front of the hotel), and a lot of people ran out,” Rogelio García, a bicycle driver, told AFP. Taxi. “There was a terrible explosion and everything collapsed,” said a woman with a face covered in dust.

Address for State Guests and Stars

The explosion occurred shortly after 11 a.m. (local time, 5 p.m. CEST). Footage showed a large plume of smoke and the partially destroyed facade of the five-story building – the lower three floors looked completely devastated. Nearby buildings and several vehicles were also damaged by the blast, including apparently a church and the important Martí Theatre.

According to the government, a nearby primary school was also damaged and evacuated. Residents of affected homes have been brought to safety. The structural safety of the hotel and surrounding buildings is under review. President Díaz-Canel praised on Twitter that many young Havana residents immediately donated blood for the injured.

On its website, the 96-room hotel boasted, among other things, of the “spectacular rooftop pool with panoramic views of the Cuban capital.” Stars like Madonna and Beyoncé as well as many guests from overseas have stayed at the house, which was last renovated in 2005, according to local media.

Leave a Comment