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Explosion damages hotel in Cuban capital; 8 deaths reported

Associated Press/Ramon Espinosa
The five-star Hotel Saratoga is heavily damaged after an explosion in Old Havana, Cuba, Friday, May 6, 2022. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

HAVANA (AP) — A powerful explosion has badly damaged a hotel in the Cuban capital and officials report at least eight people have died.

The office of Cuba’s president said in a tweet that Friday’s blast at the five-star Hotel Saratoga in Old Havana apparently was due to a gas leak.

Local officials said 13 people are missing and rescue efforts are underway for people possibly trapped. But the Havana governor said the 96-room hotel was being renovated and no tourists were lodged there.

Photos show much of the outer wall blown away, with clouds of dust billowing into the sky. A school next door had been evacuated.

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