A massive explosion took place at Hotel Saratoga in Havana, Cuba at 10:50 am local time. The explosion, which is suspected to be a result of a gas leak, heavily damaged the hotel in Old Havana, a block away from the Capitolio. According to reports by Cuban Health Minister Emilio Delgado Iznaga, as of 12:45 pm local time, eight deaths were reported and at least 30 people were hospitalized with injuries.
Firefighters and health authorities are leading a rescue operation at the site of the explosion to clear the rubble and search for the 13 people who are reportedly missing. Hospitals in the area have called for people to donate blood in order to help the injured.
🔴 #AHORA Decenas de personas han llegado hasta el Banco de Sangre de El Vedado en La Habana para hacer su aporte para los heridos de la explosión. Informan que gracias a este gesto ya se llenaron las reservas.
FOTOS: @QbaDaniel pic.twitter.com/IQmE4Pm6cR
— Luis De Jesús 🇵🇷 (@ldejesusreyes) May 6, 2022
Dozens of people have arrived to the El Vedado Blood Bank to support those wounded from the explosion.
Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel, who has been at the scene since the explosion occurred, told the press that “It was not a bomb or an attack, it is an unfortunate accident.” Diaz-Canel also visited the hospital where many of the injured are receiving medical attention and gave the assurance that “our hospitals are working to attend to the injured and the rescue efforts will continue.”
El Presidente @DiazCanelB regresa #AHORA a las inmediaciones del hotel Saratoga, donde es actualizado sobre las acciones de rescate y salvamento. pic.twitter.com/FTk1CzfcSe
— Presidencia Cuba 🇨🇺 (@PresidenciaCuba) May 6, 2022
Official reports stated that no guests were staying at the historic hotel which was under renovation. In 2016, the five-star hotel hosted several American personalities and business executives during the period of normalization of relations.