According to the authorities, the explosion was caused by a gas leak. The building of a nearby Baptist church was severely damaged.
An explosion hit the centre of Havana, Cuba, on Friday, destroying the historic Saratoga Hotel. Buses and cars outside the hotel were also damaged.
Cuban authorities said 27 people died in the explosion which was caused by a gas leak. Police and firefighters are still searching through the rubble for survivors.
Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel went to the scene to express his sympathy and condolences.
The Saratoga Hotel was built in 1930 and reopened in 2005 after a series of repairs. It is located in the very centre of Havana, just a few metres from the state Capitol building.
The hotel building is next to the premises of El Calvario (Calvary) Baptist church.
“The roof of the church was blown off by the explosion but all the [church] workers are fine. Continue praying because there are many injured people in the surrounding area”, said David Espinosa, who is in charge of audiovisuals at the church, in an audio message to Latin American news website Evangélico Digital.
He also asked for prayers on his Twitter where he informed about the situation of the explosion and the church.
⚠️⚠️⚠️⚠️⚠️Por favor estén orando, acaba de explotar el Saratoga. Yo no estaba en mi iglesia. Muchos heridos. Por favor oren. Es justo al lado de mi iglesia.⚠️⚠️⚠️⚠️⚠️ pic.twitter.com/afAL8ehwTe
— davidholamigente (@DavidSiloetano) May 6, 2022
“God took care of us! All the church workers are fine. We prayerfully support all hotel workers, neighbours, children and teachers from the school across the street”, Espinosa pointed out.
Pastor Adrian Ramos shared images showing the severe damage that El Calvario church building suffered from the explosion.