https://www.the-sun.com/news/5284897/22-death-explosion-five-star-hotel-cuba-gas-leak/

TWENTY-TWO people have been killed and over 70 have been hospitalised after a huge explosion ripped through a popular hotel in Cuba.

A desperate search for survivors is still ongoing after a gas leak caused a blast which obliterated The Hotel Saratoga in Havana on Friday.

7

The Hotel Saratoga in Havana has been obliterated by the powerful blastCredit: AFP
The gas tanker which reportedly caused the explosion being lifted away

7

The gas tanker which reportedly caused the explosion being lifted away

Guests reported hearing something that sounded “like a bomb” before the eruption tore through the 19th-century building.

It is believed a gas tanker which was parked outside the hotel ignited, causing an explosion which destroyed several floors of the building.

At least 22 people are dead and a further 74 have been hospitalised after the explosion, according to Cuban officials.

At the time, reports claimed that some holidaymakers are still trapped on the top floor as the five-star hotel crumbles.

MORE CUBA NEWS

Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel had already ruled out a bomb after visiting the site of the blast on Friday.

He instead suggested that initial investigations pointed to the cause of the blast being a gas leak.

The dead included a pregnant woman and a child according to official reports.

Locals have shared an array of harrowing videos of the scene on the ground, providing a terrifying insight into the devastation.

Most read in The US Sun

The walking wounded are desperately try to find safety while reports suggest Cubans have been heroically saving victims from under the mountains of rubble.

Incredible images show the structure of the once-grand hotel has been blown apart, as smoke and dust chokes the air.

The historic hotel was set for a post-pandemic reopening in four days. It now lies in ruins, with much of its outer wall torn off.

Police and the fire service have begun searching for victims as hundreds of tourists and locals stared in awe.

Photographer Michel Figueroa said he had been “thrown to the ground” by the explosion as he walked along the street.

The adjacent buildings were also ravaged by the powerful explosion, with one witness saying it caused “buildings for several blocks” to shake.

Concerns were also raised for children who attend the school located next door to the hotel, but it was confirmed they had been evacuated.

Buses, cars and other vehicles parked outside were also wiped out.

Mexico’s Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard also wrote in a tweet: “Our solidarity to the victims and those affected as well as the people of that dear fraternal nation.”

The Hotel Saratoga, situated in Havana’s old town, boasts 96 rooms and a rooftop pool.

With guests staying in luxury, the cheapest rate is £137 per night with rooms individually decorated and full to the brim with amenities.

There are two restaurants on-site which provide room service around the clock, one of which is situated on the hotel rooftop.

Ronaldo & Georgina reveal name for baby girl as they post heartwarming pics
One of UK's most-wanted arrested in Spain after 7-yr hunt over teen death

The building was originally erected in 1880 for warehouses before being remodeled as a hotel in 1933.

It then re-opened in 2005 and has become a popular choice for holidaymakers visiting Cuba.

The famous five-star hotel was set to reopen in the next few days before the tragedy

7

The famous five-star hotel was set to reopen in the next few days before the tragedyCredit: Hotel Saratoga
The explosion caused widespread devastation

7

The explosion caused widespread devastationCredit: AFP
Surrounding vehicles were obliterated by the blast

7

Surrounding vehicles were obliterated by the blastCredit: AFP
Locals watched in horror as the rescue operation began

7

Locals watched in horror as the rescue operation beganCredit: AFP
The search for survivors underneath the rubble is still underway

7

The search for survivors underneath the rubble is still underwayCredit: AFP
You Might Like
Learn more about RevenueStripe...