Police and rescuers are combing the rubble for survivors after an explosion late Friday morning destroyed a hotel in Havana, Cuba, killing at least eight people and wounding 30.
A gas leak is believed to have caused the explosion at the Saratoga hotel, according to the Cuban presidential office, which said more details would follow soon.
“Everything indicates that the explosion was caused by an accident,” the Cuban presidential office said in a tweet, adding that at least 30 people were taken to hospital after Friday’s explosion.
Witnesses described a “huge explosion” that appeared to destroy buses and cars outside the hotel in the city center.
Pictures from the scene showed the smashed facade of at least three floors of the ornate green and white stucco building. Plumes of dust and smoke were seen rising around the wreckage on the ground.
Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel visited the site of the blast on Friday and the Hermanos Amigiras hospital, where a number of victims were sent, according to photos posted by the presidential office on Twitter.
And the Mexican Foreign Minister tweeted his solidarity with the victims of the explosion. “Our solidarity with the victims and those affected as well as the people of that sister nation,” Marcelo Ebrard said in a tweet.
This is an evolving story and will be updated.