22 Dead, 60 Injured After Massive Blast Destroys Iconic Hotel in Cuban Capital Havana

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The casualty numbers in Havana's Saratoga hotel explosion on Friday have gone up to at least 22, according to the latest reports.

More than 60 people have been hospitalised after the massive blast ripped through the five-star hotel in the Cuban capital.

Meanwhile, Cuba has dismissed the possibility of a terror strike behind the explosion that destroyed the exclusive 9th century building. "It was not a bomb or an attack, it's an unfortunate accident," said Cuba's President Miguel Diaz-Canel.

Original Story:

A massive blast has destroyed a legacy hotel in the center of Cuban capital Havana, killing at least four people. More casualties are feared, though the officials have not disclosed details about the blast at Hotel Saratoga. Officers and rescue workers are searching the rubble for survivors.

Cuba hotel blast
Cuba hotel blast Reuters

It was initially not clear what caused the Saratoga hotel blast. However, later in the day, the Presidential office said a gas leak is thought to be the cause of the blast.

Witnesses said they heard a 'massive blast.' Videos of the aftermath circulating on social media show the extent of the damage caused by the blast. The entire facade of the hotel has been gutted in the blast and smoke can be seen rising in columns.

The blast also destroyed buses and cars parked outside the hotel. Saratoga, which has some 96 rooms, was built in the 1930s, according to media reports.

Local media reports said high-ranking officials, including the Cuban President, Prime Minister and the Speaker of the National Assembly arrived at the scene.