At least eight people have been killed and 30 injured after a huge gas explosion ripped apart a hotel in Cuba’s capital Havana.

Thirteen people remain missing following the blast at the five-star Hotel Saratoga as rescuers desperately search through rubble.

Wounded locals could be seen getting treated outside the site in makeshift trauma units as ambulances raced to the scene.

Meanwhile terrified children were evacuated by teachers from a school that joins the hotel in Old Havana on Friday afternoon.

The gas was thought to have been moved in a truck before it ignited and blew through the walls of the 90-year-old building, destroying buses and cars parked outside.

The site, which had 96 rooms, was closed at the time but was due for a grand reopening after the pandemic in just four days.

Cuba’s President Miguel Díaz-Canel and Prime Minister Manuel Marrero were among those paying tribute to the dead this afternoon as they visited the scene. 

At least eight people have been killed and 30 injured after a huge gas explosion ripped apart a hotel in Cuba’s capital Havana 

Wounded locals could be seen getting treated outside the site in makeshift trauma units as ambulances raced to the scene

Wounded locals could be seen getting treated outside the site in makeshift trauma units as ambulances raced to the scene

Meanwhile terrified children were evacuated by teachers from a school that joins the hotel in Old Havana on Friday afternoon

Meanwhile terrified children were evacuated by teachers from a school that joins the hotel in Old Havana on Friday afternoon

Flames and plumes of smoke were seen streaking out of the crumbling wreckage as rescuers continued to search the rubble for survivors

Flames and plumes of smoke were seen streaking out of the crumbling wreckage as rescuers continued to search the rubble for survivors

The explosion was so powerful buses and cars that were parked in front building were left crumpled or damaged and some even flipped over

The explosion was so powerful buses and cars that were parked in front building were left crumpled or damaged and some even flipped over

Granma reported that a witness saw the moment when a gas truck supplying the hotel with liquid gas reserves exploded

Granma reported that a witness saw the moment when a gas truck supplying the hotel with liquid gas reserves exploded

BEFORE: The hotel used to be one of the most stunning buildings in Old Havana and had been preparing for a grand reopening

BEFORE: The hotel used to be one of the most stunning buildings in Old Havana and had been preparing for a grand reopening

Flames and plumes of smoke were seen streaking out of the crumbling wreckage as rescuers continued to search the rubble for survivors.

The explosion was so powerful buses and cars that were parked in front building were left crumpled or damaged and some even flipped over.

Granma reported that a witness saw the moment when a gas truck supplying the hotel with liquid gas reserves exploded.

Photographer Michel Figueroa said he had been walking past the hotel when ‘the explosion threw me to the ground, and my head still hurts…. Everything was very fast.’

Yazira de la Caridad, mother of two, said the explosion shook her home a block from the hotel: ‘The whole building moved. I thought it was an earthquake,’ she said. ‘I’ve still got my heart in my hand.’

Mayiee Pérez said she had rushed to the scene after receiving a call from her husband, Daniel Serra, who works at a foreign exchange shop inside the hotel. She said he told her, ‘I am fine, I am fine. They got us out,’ but had been unable to reach him since.

Granma reported that a witness saw the moment when a gas truck supplying the hotel with liquid gas reserves exploded

Granma reported that a witness saw the moment when a gas truck supplying the hotel with liquid gas reserves exploded

Photographer Michel Figueroa said he had been walking past the hotel when 'the explosion threw me to the ground, and my head still hurts.... Everything was very fast'

Photographer Michel Figueroa said he had been walking past the hotel when ‘the explosion threw me to the ground, and my head still hurts…. Everything was very fast’

Thirteen people remain missing following the blast at the five-star Hotel Saratoga as rescuers desperately search through rubble

Thirteen people remain missing following the blast at the five-star Hotel Saratoga as rescuers desperately search through rubble 

President Miguel Díaz-Canel (right, in blue shirt, with white hair) arrived on the scene of the disaster. His office confirmed on Twitter that the explosion was caused by a gas leak

President Miguel Díaz-Canel (right, in blue shirt, with white hair) arrived on the scene of the disaster. His office confirmed on Twitter that the explosion was caused by a gas leak

Police and rescue workers scour the scene on Friday afternoon as they searched for people still alive

Police and rescue workers scour the scene on Friday afternoon as they searched for people still alive

President Díaz-Canel (in blue with hands raised) speaking to authorities at the site of the explosion

President Díaz-Canel (in blue with hands raised) speaking to authorities at the site of the explosion

Another view from the rear of the hotel shows the devastation that ripped into the neighboring building

Another view from the rear of the hotel shows the devastation that ripped into the neighboring building

President Díaz-Canel confirmed the explosion was caused by a gas leak in a statement on his Twitter account. He said: ‘Preliminary investigations indicate that the explosion was caused by a gas leak.’

Hotel Saratoga was built as a warehouse in 1880 and then converted into a hotel in 1933. It reopened in 2005 as a five-star hotel with 96 rooms, tree bars, two restaurants and swimming pool.

The hotel sits steps away from Havana’s historic capital building. The hotel was remodeled by a British company after the fall of the Soviet Union and was considered the place to go for officials and celebrities’ for many years.

Recently, it had lost some of its shine with the opening of new hotels in Havana, but was still a five-star venue.

Hotel Saratoga was built as a warehouse in 1880 and then converted into a hotel in 1933. It reopened in 2005 as a five-star hotel with 96 rooms, tree bars, two restaurants and swimming pool

Hotel Saratoga was built as a warehouse in 1880 and then converted into a hotel in 1933. It reopened in 2005 as a five-star hotel with 96 rooms, tree bars, two restaurants and swimming pool

Wounded guests appeared to be getting treatment outside the hotel in makeshift trauma units as ambulances raced to the scene

Wounded guests appeared to be getting treatment outside the hotel in makeshift trauma units as ambulances raced to the scene

The hotel sits steps away from Havana's historic capital building. The hotel was remodeled by a British company after the fall of the Soviet Union and was considered the place to go for officials and celebrities' for many years

The hotel sits steps away from Havana’s historic capital building. The hotel was remodeled by a British company after the fall of the Soviet Union and was considered the place to go for officials and celebrities’ for many years

Medics work after an explosion in the Saratoga Hotel in Havana. The blast left smoke billowing into the air across the city

Medics work after an explosion in the Saratoga Hotel in Havana. The blast left smoke billowing into the air across the city

Ambulances are seen outside the Saratoga Hotel after the explosion in Havana

Ambulances are seen outside the Saratoga Hotel after the explosion in Havana



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