A gas leak is thought to be the cause of the explosion at Hotel Saratoga, according to the Cuban Presidential Office, who said in a tweet that more details would follow shortly.
Witnesses described a “massive blast,” which appeared to destroy buses and cars outside the hotel in the center of the city.
Images from the scene showed the blown-out facade of at least three floors of the ornate green-and-white stuccoed building. Plumes of dust and smoke could be seen rising around debris on the ground.
Cuban President President Miguel Diaz-Canel visited the site of the explosion on Friday as Mexico’s foreign minister tweeted his solidarity with explosion’s victims.
“Our solidarity to the victims and those affected as well as the people of that dear fraternal nation,” Marcelo Ebrard said in a tweet.
This is a developing story and will be updated.