A gas leak is thought to be the cause of the explosion at Hotel Saratoga, according to the Cuban Presidential Office, who said hat more details would follow shortly.
“The First Secretary of the Party in Havana, Luis Antonio Torres Iríbar, explains that so far the death of 4 people has been confirmed. Search and rescue efforts continue at the hotel, where people may still be trapped,” the Cuban Presidential Office said in a tweet on Friday, adding that “everything indicates that the explosion was caused by an accident.”
Witnesses described a “massive blast,” which appeared to destroy buses and cars outside the hotel in the center of the city.
Images from the scene showed the blown-out facade of at least three floors of the ornate green-and-white stuccoed building. Plumes of dust and smoke could be seen rising around debris on the ground.
Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel visited the site of the explosion on Friday as Mexico’s foreign minister tweeted his solidarity with the explosion’s victims.
“Our solidarity to the victims and those affected as well as the people of that dear fraternal nation,” Marcelo Ebrard said in a tweet.
This is a developing story and will be updated.