Hotel Saratoga: At least four dead after a massive explosion destroyed a hotel in Havana, Cuba

A gas leak is thought to be the cause of the explosion at Hotel Saratoga, according to the Cuban Presidential Office, who said hat more details would follow shortly.

« The First Secretary of the Party in Havana, Luis Antonio Torres Iríbar, explains that so far the death of 4 people has been confirmed. Search and rescue efforts continue at the hotel, where people may still be trapped, » the Cuban Presidential Office said in a tweet on Friday, adding that « everything indicates that the explosion was caused by an accident. »

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. Feathers 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.

Cuban police and fire rescuers are working at the scene.

« Our solidarity to the victims and those affected as well as the people of that dear fraternal nation, » Marcelo Ebrard said in a tweet.

The hotel, which was built in the 1930s and has 96 rooms, was reopened in 2005 after refurbishment, according to its website.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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