Death Toll In Havana Hotel Blast Reaches 18

HAVANA (AP) – A powerful explosion apparently caused by a gas leak has blown away outer walls from a five-star hotel in the heart of Cuba’s capital, killing at least 18 people and injuring dozens.

Havana Gov. Reinaldo García Zapata told the Communist Party newspaper Granma that no tourists had been staying at the 96-room Hotel Saratoga because it was undergoing renovations.

Officials say about a dozen people are missing and that searchers are hunting for people who may be trapped.

Cuban state TV blamed the blast on a truck carrying natural gas that it was supplying to the hotel.

The blast happened as Cuba tries to revive its tourism sector.

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