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6 May, 2022 15:57

Massive explosion destroys hotel in Cuba

Photos and video footage from the scene show wrecked cars and buses outside Havana’s Saratoga Hotel
Massive explosion destroys hotel in Cuba

A major explosion ripped through Havana’s Saratoga Hotel on Friday, destroying multiple floors of the building. So far, the cause of the blast remains unclear and there are no estimates of casualties.

The blast happened at around 11am local time, with witnesses telling local media the explosion "sounded like a bomb." 

The hotel is located directly across from Cuba's National Capitol Building, the seat of the country's parliament.

Hundreds of bystanders have gathered on the streets as police and rescue crews begin searching the rubble for survivors.

One witness told CNN Brasil that the hotel, which is one of the most popular in the city, was almost empty due to the pandemic. Some reports suggested a school across the street from the hotel was evacuated following the explosion.

The hotel's website describes it as a luxury hotel located in the historic center of Havana, with 96 rooms, two bars, two restaurants, a spa and gym. The building was originally built in 1880 and remodeled as a hotel in 1933.