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Explosion in Havana: at least 26 dead in Saratoga hotel bombing

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An explosion in the historical five-star hotel in Old Havana on At least 26 people died Friday morning. people and destroyed lot of in buildingCuban officials announced this.

Dozens more were injured in the explosion that rocked the Saratoga Hotel across from the Cuban Capitol at about 11 a.m. Friday. Officials released names and ages on Saturday of in dead; among them a pregnant woman and four children aged 10 to 17 years.

cause of The explosion was unclear, officials said, but preliminary investigation indicated a gas explosion. leak.

“It was not a bomb and not attack”said President Miguel Diaz-Canel. “This is an accident.”

The hotel was about to open on Tuesday after closing two years ago during the coronavirus pandemic, the report said. in Facebook of 28 April postLatest on his page. Havana Governor Reinaldo García Zapata said the hotel was undergoing renovations and no tourists were visiting, according to the Granma newspaper of the Communist Party.

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Videos and images on social media showed the facade of the hotel exploded, smoke filled air and crowds meeting in in street outside. Photo published by the publication news Reuters showed at least one body in in street outside the hotel is covered with sheet.

Witnesses outside historical five-star Hotel Saratoga in Havana filmed aftermath of explosion on May 8 is left minimum 22 people dead. (Video: Washington Post)

“The explosion knocked me off my chair,” said Lester Fernandez, 25. who lives less than five minutes walk from Saratoga. “A piece of my ceiling fell. i ran fast down stairs and I thought it was mine building it was falling,” he said before realizing it was a hotel. “This was complete disaster.”

David Duque, 30-year-an old travel blogger, was going to start photo op about five blocks from the Saratoga Hotel when he felt city hum and heard the roar of thunder of explosion.

“We thought it was a bomb or attackDuque said. “I was so nervous that my legs were shaking. I don’t know what to do. … In Cuba we never felt anything like This.”

He hurried to the hotel and found scene of chaos and confusion. He saw bloody faces of elderly people who passing by the hotel on nearby buses at the time of explosion. He saw uniformed hotel staff standing by. on What happened left of upper floors of in building and scream for help. He saw children running and others help to pull people out of rubble.

“I felt paralyzed,” he said. “We were afraid to get too close. we are not know what can happen next”.

A tweet from the president showed an injured child in hospital bed and patch over one eye when Diaz-Canel visited with Patients. The school is located in front of Hotel. All of his students were safely evacuated, Cuban officials said.

Saratoga, who was built in 1930s and renovated in 2005, has 96 rooms, two bars, two restaurants, a spa and a rooftop. pool with panoramic view of Cuban capital, according to website. Guests reportedly included Beyoncé and Madonna.

The explosion at the hotel was latest a blow to Cuba’s tourism industry, which officials say is the No. 1 source of hard currency for the island is highly dependent on import and struggling through its worst economic crisis in three decades. After the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, Cuba sharply limited tourism, only fully opening the country last November.

Officials at the annual Cuba Tourism Fair held in in recent days, said that 313,900 foreigners visited in in first trimester, up from 48 000 in same period last year – but still good below 981 900 in 2020. Accused drop on in fact so much people just started doing plans travel again.

“We are recovering little by little” – Maria del Carmen Orellana, Vice President of Cuba.minister of tourism, said in interview last month. “We hope for a good summer,” she said, noting that the reservations were up for coming months.

However, the tourism sector of the island struggling in numerous ways. Canadians and Europeans usually for in highest amount of visitors, how does winter end in those regions trips to the Caribbean drop. During the pandemic, the Russians became leaders group of tourists who travel a lot via a special a “bubble” scheme to keep them in seaside resorts and away from the Cubans. But since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, it was almost impossible for Russian flights to Cuba.

President Donald Trump added ten-year-old US sanctions trade embargoes, many of which are travel-related. He banned American cruise ships from entering Cuba, banned airlines from flying to cities outside Havana, the capital, and Americans are forbidden to stay in the hundreds of hotels, stating that they are associated with the communist government and his allies. Among them is Saratoga, website of Friday explosion.

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Duque, travel blogger, lives outside of Havana, but included in city take almost every day photos promotion of their architecture. By Friday afternoon, he was still blown away by the hotel scene, which he described as iconic. of Cuban heritage.

He hoped the hotel need be demolished. “It would be great losses,” he said.

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Tyler Hromadka
Tyler is working as the Author at World Weekly News. He has a love for writing and have been writing for a few years now as a free-lancer.

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