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An explosion at a luxury hotel in Cuba killed 22 people

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A suspected gas leak has killed 22 people in Cuba.

The Hotel Saratoga in Havana was destroyed by a massive explosion yesterday.

The luxury hotel, which has hosted the likes of Beyoncé and Jay-Z, was being renovated at the time.

The reopening was planned for Tuesday.

Rescuers worked throughout the night to find survivors beneath the rubble and debris.

Today the death toll from the blast was confirmed at 22 – a pregnant woman is said to be among the victims.

Dozens of people were also injured and taken to hospital with serious injuries.

Due to renovations at the Hotel Saratoga, there were no guests in the building at the time of the explosion.

Firefighters remove debris from the ruins of the Saratoga Hotel in Havana May 6, 2022. - The death toll in a massive explosion at a five-star hotel in central Havana rose to 22 on May 6, injuring more than 50 people after a suspected gas leak, officials said. (Photo by ADALBERTO ROQUE/AFP) (Photo by ADALBERTO ROQUE/AFP via Getty Images)

The hotel was closed to guests at the time of the blast but workers were inside (Image: AFP)

Rescue workers remove a body found under rubble after an explosion hit the Hotel Saratoga in Havana, Cuba May 6, 2022. REUTERS/Alexandre Meneghini

Emergency crews worked through the night to search debris (Image: Reuters)

A natural gas leak is believed to have caused the explosion.

Cuba’s President Miguel Díaz-Canel described the blast as “a very unfortunate accident”.

He told Cuban television that 50 adults and children had been hospitalized.

Last night, relatives of people missing after the blast gathered outside the former hotel awaiting news.

Ms Avellar told reporters she was trying to locate Odalys Barrera, a 57-year-old cashier who worked at the hotel.

She said she is the godmother to Ms Barrera’s daughters and considers them “like a sister”.

A member of a rescue team retrieves a Cuban national flag at the site of a deadly explosion that destroyed the five-star Saratoga Hotel in Havana, Cuba on Friday May 6, 2022. A powerful explosion apparently caused by a natural gas leak killed at least 18 people, including a pregnant woman and a child, and injured dozens on Friday when the perimeter walls of the luxury hotel in the heart of the Cuban capital were blown away. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

A member of a rescue team retrieves a Cuban national flag from the former hotel (Image: AP)

A gas tanker is lifted out of wreckage after an explosion hit the Hotel Saratoga in Havana, Cuba May 6, 2022. REUTERS/Alexandre Meneghini

A gas tanker is lifted out of the wreckage and debris after the explosion (Image: Reuters)

The identities of those who died in the blast have not yet been released.

A spokesman for the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office said: “We are aware of an explosion in Havana and are in contact with the Cuban authorities to ascertain further details.

“The embassy remains available to assist UK nationals affected by the blast.”

Although no tourists were injured, the blast is the latest blow to the country’s tourism industry.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Xinhua/REX/Shutterstock (12928682a) Photo taken on May 6, 2022 shows the site where an explosion occurred at Hotel Saratoga in Havana, Cuba. At least eight people were killed and more than 30 others injured after an explosion ripped through the hotel in downtown Havana on Friday morning, official sources said. Cuba-Havana Explosion - May 06, 2022

The blast was described as a “very unfortunate accident” (Image: Xinhua/REX/Shutterstock)

Destroyed cars are pictured after an explosion hit the Hotel Saratoga in Havana, Cuba May 6, 2022. REUTERS/Alexandre Meneghini

Cars outside the hotel were destroyed by the force of the blast (Image: Reuters)

Even before the coronavirus pandemic kept tourists away from Cuba, the country was already struggling with former US President Donald Trump’s sanctions and keeping the Biden administration in place.

The sanctions limited US tourist visits to the islands and remittances from Cubans in the US to their families in the country.

And before the war, almost a third of tourists arriving in Cuba came from Russia.

The 96-room Hotel Saratoga in the historic center of Old Havana was remodeled after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

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https://metro.co.uk/2022/05/07/huge-explosion-at-luxury-hotel-in-cuba-leaves-22-dead-16602872/ An explosion at a luxury hotel in Cuba killed 22 people

Justin Scacco

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