At least 26 dead from hotel explosion in Havana, Cuba

Posted at 12:22 PM, May 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-07 11:43:34-04

HAVANA, Cuba — Relatives of the missing in Cuba’s capital are desperately searched Saturday for victims of an explosion at one of Havana's most luxurious hotels that killed at least 26 people.

The search and rescue operation started Friday just after a large explosion at the five-star Hotel Saratoga in the Cuban capital. The office of Cuba's president said in a tweet that the explosion apparently was due to a gas leak.

WEB EXTRA: Large explosion outside of Havana, Cuba hotel

The 19th-century structure in the city’s Old Havana neighborhood did not have any guests at the time because it was undergoing renovations ahead of a planned Tuesday reopening. Photos published by government news media showed severe damage to the 96-room hotel, with clouds of dust billowing into the sky.

Officials said late Friday that about a dozen people were missing and that searchers are hunting for people who may be trapped. An elementary school next door was evacuated after the blast, with no reports of student injuries.