Explosion at Havana hotel: multiple deaths, injuries as blast hits Saratoga hotel, Cuba

A prestigious hotel in Cuba is in ruins following a powerful explosion that killed at least eight people and injured dozens of others.

A five-star hotel was destroyed in Cuba killing eight people and injuring 30 others.

A powerful explosion late Friday morning local time tore apart the Saratoga Hotel in central Havana, the country’s capital.

The Cuban government said the explosion was likely caused by a gas leak.

It is not known whether any Australians were injured in the accident.

Rescuers sifted through the rubble for survivors after the blast sent a huge cloud of dust and smoke rising from the prestigious Saratoga Hotel.

The blast shuts off much of the facade, blew up windows and destroyed cars parked outside the hotel, which is known for hosting celebrities such as Madonna and Beyonce.

“So far eight people have died and about 30 are hospitalized,” the Cuban presidency tweeted.

The first four floors of the facility, which was empty of guests during the renovation, were gutted.

“Initial results indicate that the explosion was caused by a gas leak,” the presidency said.

Rescue in progress

Ambulances and fire trucks rushed to the scene and the police sealed off the area, dispersing the people who swarmed the scene.

President Miguel Diaz-Canel, accompanied by Prime Minister Manuel Marrero and National Assembly President Esteban Lazo, arrived at the scene as the rescue operation began.

According to the website of the Hotel Saratoga, it is an exclusive property with 96 rooms, two bars, two restaurants, a spa and a gym.

Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard, meanwhile, said President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador will not cancel a trip to Cuba scheduled for Sunday.

“Our solidarity with the victims and those affected, as well as with the people of that dear brotherly people”, tweeted the minister

Originally published as Multiple deaths, injuries as massive explosion destroys Havana hotel