https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10790353/Huge-blast-rips-apart-popular-hotel-Cubas-capital-Havana.html

Huge blast kills at least NINE and injures 30 after gas explosion rips through five-star hotel in Cuba: Rescuers trawl through the rubble for survivors

  • Thirteen people remain missing after the blast at the five-star Hotel Saratoga as rescuers desperately search
  • Wounded locals could be seen getting treated outside hotel in makeshift trauma units as medics raced there
  • Meanwhile terrified children were evacuated by their teachers from school near the hotel in Old Havana
  • The gas was thought to have been moved in a truck before it ignited and blew through the walls of building

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At least nine 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 near 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 nine 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

Three members of hotel staff trapped in the upper floors of the Hotel Saratoga in the moments after the explosion

Three members of hotel staff trapped in the upper floors of the Hotel Saratoga in the moments after the explosion

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

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

Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel (center, in blue shirt with white hair), was quickly on sight after the blast. His office confirmed on Twitter that the explosion was caused by a gas leak

Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel (center, in blue shirt with white hair), was quickly on sight after the blast. His office confirmed on Twitter that the explosion was caused by a gas leak

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 

The hotel explosion took place across the street from Cuba's capital building, located in the center of Havana

The hotel explosion took place across the street from Cuba’s capital building, located in the center of Havana

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.

Video shows the hotel buried in a cloud of smoke moments after the explosion

Video shows the hotel buried in a cloud of smoke moments after the explosion

Carnage was thrown across the neighborhood as the blast rocked the historic district

Carnage was thrown across the neighborhood as the blast rocked the historic district

Cars drove by fleeing the explosion as smoke and debris pour out onto the surrounding streets

Cars drove by fleeing the explosion as smoke and debris pour out onto the surrounding streets

The Hotel Saratoga intact
The Hotel Saratoga after the explosion
Slide me

BEFORE: The same corner of the Hotel Saratoga seen before and after the blast

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.

A neighboring historic church, Iglesia Bautista, was severely damaged in the explosion. A hole was blasted through its domed roof, and dust and debris poured in across the pews.

The luxurious hotel rooms and their 5-star amenities were left spilling out into the rubble on the street below

The luxurious hotel rooms and their 5-star amenities were left spilling out into the rubble on the street below

Rescue crews springing to action and wheeling stretchers towards the wreckage to extract the wounded

Rescue crews springing to action and wheeling stretchers towards the wreckage to extract the wounded

Heaps of concrete, metal, wood and dust rained down from the blast, piling up at the base of the hotel

Heaps of concrete, metal, wood and dust rained down from the blast, piling up at the base of the hotel

The upper floors of the building were completely mangled by the huge explosion after it rocked the city on Friday afternoon

The upper floors of the building were completely mangled by the huge explosion after it rocked the city on Friday afternoon

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’

The hotel's marquee was ravaged by the blast, collapsing with the façade onto the street below

The hotel’s marquee was ravaged by the blast, collapsing with the façade onto the street below

Rescue crews sort through the debris for missing victims

Rescue crews sort through the debris for missing victims

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

President Miguel Díaz-Canel (right, in blue shirt, with white hair) arrived on the scene of the disaster

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

Rescue crews using cranes and heavy machinery to remove huge chunks of debris as they look for survivors

Rescue crews using cranes and heavy machinery to remove huge chunks of debris as they look for survivors

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

Fire engines poured water over the smoking wreckage to cool down the debris and snuff out any remaining flames

Fire engines poured water over the smoking wreckage to cool down the debris and snuff out any remaining flames

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

Crows approached the ruin of the hotel shortly after the blast, before police established a police-line (above)

Crows approached the ruin of the hotel shortly after the blast, before police established a police-line (above)

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

BEFORE: The inside of the lobby had a beautiful staircase which hung above a waiting area for guests checking into the hotel

BEFORE: The inside of the lobby had a beautiful staircase which hung above a waiting area for guests checking into the hotel

BEFORE: One of the master suites in the hotel featured a luxurious bed and large bathroom before the explosion on Friday

BEFORE: One of the master suites in the hotel featured a luxurious bed and large bathroom before the explosion on Friday 

BEFORE: The hotel also offered stunning views across the city but was engulfed in a wall of smoke on Friday afternoon

BEFORE: The hotel also offered stunning views across the city but was engulfed in a wall of smoke on Friday afternoon 

BEFORE: One of the drinking lounges in the hotel before the incident today showed the classy, five-star establishment

BEFORE: One of the drinking lounges in the hotel before the incident today showed the classy, five-star establishment

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