Gas leak suspected to be cause of Cuba hotel blast, death toll at 22


The death toll in the blast at the iconic hotel in Cuba has risen to 22. The famous Hotel Saratoga was obliterated in a powerful blast on May 6. The intensity of the blast was so much that it caused a gash several floors high in the side of the building.

The blast at the historic high-end hotel was apparently caused by gas leak.

A nearby school was rattled by the blast with more than 300 students in attendance, health authorities said. At least 15 children were reported injured as of late Friday evening, the health ministry said, and one child had died.

Cuba’s tourism minister, Juan Carlos Garcia, said no foreigners were killed or injured in the blast, according to initial reports.

The blast shrouded the building and surrounding streets in plumes of black smoke and dust rising from the rubble.

Hundreds of Cubans and tourists alike gathered near the property under a hot sun as police cordoned off the area around the hotel. Many speculated about the cause of the blast as ambulances and rescue workers carried victims from the wreckage.

Cuba’s tourism minister, Juan Carlos Garcia, said no foreigners were killed or injured in the blast, according to initial reports.

The hotel, housed in a more than century-old building, had been closed and only workers were inside at time of the explosion, state-run TV said, citing Roberto Enrique Calzadilla, a representative of the military-run company.

(With inputs from agencies)

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