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Huge blast in Havana Hotel causes multiple deaths

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An explosion has ripped through an exclusive five-star hotel in central Havana causing multiple deaths and leaving many injured.

Hotel Saratoga which has hosted celebrities such as Mick Jagger, Madonna, Beyonce, and Rhianna, had recently undergone refurbishment, with its reopening set for next Tuesday.

The first four floors of the hotel were vacant due to further renovation; however, employees had been inside the hotel at the time of the explosion.

The blast destroyed the hotel and the cars parked outside, also taking out the dome of a nearby Baptist Church.

Emergency services attended the scene late Friday morning, and rescuers began to search for survivors amongst the rubble and debris.

The explosion has been reported as an ‘unfortunate accident.’

According to Robert Calzadilla, of the company Gaviota who owns the hotel, the explosion was caused by the refilling of a gas tank.

Cuban Government Representative Diaz-Canel took to social media, and in a tweet said:

“Compatriots and friends of the world. Habana is shocked today after the accidental explosion of a gas deposit in Hotel Saratoga, which made collapse a big part of the installation.”

In a press conference Julio Guerra, head of the Health Ministry’s Hospital Services said, “Unfortunately 18 have died.” Official numbers indicate a further 50 or so people were injured.

Miguel Garcia, Director of Calixto Garcia Hospital said 11 people were in an extremely serious condition.

Among the wounded, was a 2-year-old boy. Director of Hermanos Almejeiras Hospital, Miguel Hernan Estevez said the boy had undergone surgery for a fractured skull.

Havana officials have said that rescue efforts are continuing as 13 people remain missing.

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