At least 26 people were killed and dozens more injured during a powerful gas explosion that rocked a landmark hotel in Havana, Cuba, according to multiple reports.
Cuban authorities said at least one child is among the dead and that 50 adults and 14 minors were injured and being treated at local hospitals after Friday’s explosion caused by a gas leak at the Hotel Saratoga, according to the Wall Street Journal.
“This wasn’t a bomb or an attack, it was a lamentable accident,” said Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel, who rushed to the scene along with other high-ranking Cuban officials. “Our most heartfelt condolences…to the families and those close to the victims.”
The five-story hotel was undergoing repairs and no tourists were inside, the state-run newspaper Granma reported. It had been scheduled to reopen on May 10.
The blast nevertheless set off a brief wave of panic through historic downtown Havana neighborhood, which has gradually begun reopening to tourists after the pandemic devastated Cuba’s travel sector.
The explosion also rattled a nearby school with more than 300 students in attendance, health authorities told Reuters.
The hotel has been frequented by celebrities such as Beyoncé and Jay-Z — who stayed there when they visited Cuba in 2013 — and political figures including high-ranking US government delegations.
With Post wires