May 24, 2022

Massive blast collapses luxury hotel in Havana, authorities blame gas leak

Family members and friends of the victims of an insanely large explosion at one of Havana, Cuba’s most luxurious hotels, are waiting with bated breath for word on their loved ones as the death toll continues to climb.

According to Breitbart, the blast at the 96-room hotel occurred on Friday, with the origin of the blast thought to be a natural gas leak. Unbelievable, there were no guests at the historic building at the time of the blast, as it was undergoing renovations by construction crews. 

The 19th-century luxury hotel in Old Havana was scheduled to reopen on Tuesday after being closed for nearly two years, mostly as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The latest reports from the tragic incident indicated that authorities have confirmed at least 27 dead, with many more missing. Search dogs were deployed to sift through the rubble at the partially collapsed hotel, called Hotel Saratoga. Reportedly, at least 81 people have been classified as injured as a result of the blast.

“Representatives of Grupo de Turismo Gaviota SA, which owns the hotel, said during a news conference Saturday that 51 workers had been inside the hotel at the time, as well as two people working on renovations. Of those, 11 were killed, 13 remained missing and six were hospitalized,” the Associated Press reported.

Authorities said an investigation into the blast is still in the process, but they’re leaning heavily toward the natural gas leak theory as a crane hoisted a charred natural gas tank from the collapsed building.

“I thought it was a bomb,” 73-year-old retiree Guillermo Madan told reporters. “My room moved from here to there. My neighbor’s window broke, the plates, everything.”

The explosion is another unfortunate blow to the struggling country’s tourism industry as the hotel, like others, was just set to reopen as the COVID-19 pandemic subsided. But for the family members of those who’ve been injured, killed, or are still missing, tourism is clearly the least of their worries.

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