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Tornado hits Havana; Cuban president says 3 dead, 172 injured

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Posted at 6:42 AM, Jan 28, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-28 10:07:20-05

HAVANA (AP) — A tornado and pounding rains smashed into the eastern part of Cuba's capital overnight, toppling trees, bending power poles and flinging shards of metal roofing through the air as the storm cut a path of destruction across eastern Havana.

Power was cut to many areas and President Miguel Diaz-Canel said Monday at least three people were killed and 172 injured.

Julio Menendez, a 33-year-old restaurant worker said Havana's 10 de Octubre borough "looks like a horror movie."

"From one moment to the next, we heard a noise like an airplane falling out of the sky. The first thing I did was go hug my daughters," who are 9 and 12, he told The Associated Press.

Driver Oster Rodriguez said that amid a fierce storm, what looked like a thick, swirling cloud touched down in the central plaza of the Reparto Modelo neighborhood "like a fireball." He saw a bus blown over, though he said the driver escaped unharmed.

The windows in the seven-story Daughters of Galicia Hospital had been sucked out of their frames by the wind, leaving curtains flapping in the breeze, and all the patients, new and expectant mothers, had to be evacuated. In the streets, a palm tree more than 30 feet (9 meters) tall had crushed a pre-revolutionary American car.