A powerful explosion occurred today, Friday, in a hotel under renovation in the center of the Cuban capital, Havana.
According to the official Cuban television, the explosion killed 4 people and injured several others, while 13 are missing.
Damage caused by the explosion at the Saratoga hotel
The cause of the explosion, which occurred shortly after 11:00 local time (15:00 GMT), is still unknown.
The Cuban president said the explosion was not caused by a bomb, adding that an investigation was underway to find out the cause. And according to what the office of the President of Cuba posted on Twitter, the preliminary investigation indicates that the explosion was caused by a gas leak.
The blast damaged the facade of the five-star Saratoga Hotel, which includes 96 rooms, two restaurants and a rooftop pool.
A cloud of smoke and dust rose from the main Prado avenue in central Havana, where the hotel is located. The first four layers of the building were completely destroyed, with rubble and pieces of glass scattered on the ground.
The explosion also destroyed several cars parked near the hotel, which in recent years has been known to host many celebrities, including Madonna and Beyoncé.
Paramedics closed the roads leading to the scene of the explosion, and began searching for possible victims under the rubble of the hotel.
President Miguel Diaz-Canel arrived at the venue, accompanied by Prime Minister Manuel Marrero, and National Assembly President Esteban Lazo.