A huge explosion at a luxury hotel in Cuba has left over 70 people injured and at least 26 dead.
According to CBS News, the blast took place Friday night at the well-known Hotel Saratoga in Havana. It’s believed that the explosion was ignited by a natural gas leak; however, authorities say they are still investigating the exact cause.
“It’s not a bomb or an attack,” Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel tweeted. “It is a tragic accident.”
The 96-room hotel was set for a post-pandemic reopening next week, and was undergoing renovations at the time of the blast. It’s reported that at least 74 people, including 14 children, were injured in the explosion. Out of the 26 who were left dead, four of them were kids and one was a pregnant woman.
Grupo de Turismo Gaviota SA, that company that owns the hotel, said 51 Saratoga employees and two renovation workers were inside the 19th-century building when the blast occurred. A spokesperson for Grupo de Turismo Gaviota SA say 11 of those people were killed, six were hospitalized, and 13 were missing.
Spanish President Pedro Sánchez also claimed that a Spaniard was among the dead, while another was seriously injured. Sánchez did not publicly identify the individuals, but described them as tourists.
Rescue teams continued to search for bodies and survivors throughout Saturday. Relatives of the missing were also at the site, while others spent the day checking morgues and hospitals in the hopes of finding their loved-ones.
“My daughter is in the Saratoga; she’s been there since 8 a.m. (Friday), and at this time I don’t know anything about her,” said Yatmara Cobas, who was desperate to locate 27-year-old housekeeper Shaidis Cobas. “She’s not at the morgue, she’s not in the hospital. I’m tired of the lies.”
How unbelievably sad. Prayers go out to all those affected by this horrible tragedy.