Saudi Arabia’s King, Crown Prince condole Cuban president after Havana blast
Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman sent their condolences to Cuba’s President Miguel Diaz Canel Bermúdez after an explosion in a hotel killed 43 people, the official Saudi Press Agency reported on Wednesday.
The message was sent via cable and “expressed condolences and sympathy” to the Cuban president, families of the victims, and the citizens of the country.
The Cuban ministry of health said 54 other people were injured and 17 of those are being treated in a hospital.
The luxury Saratoga hotel in the old quarter of Havana was destroyed on Friday morning, seemingly due to a gas leak, AFP reported.
The five-star hotel was reportedly being renovated at the time and had no guests. It had been closed for two years, initially due to the coronavirus pandemic that decimated Cuba’s vital tourism industry.
It was due to reopen on Tuesday.
Roberto Enrique Calzadilla, a representative of the state Gaviota company that owned the hotel, told AFP there were 51 workers on the site at the time of the explosion.
Of them, 23 died, three survivors are receiving hospital treatment, 22 are safe and three more are missing.
Preliminary assessments reportedly indicate that 80 percent of the hotel has been affected by the blast.
The explosion, which an official said happened while a gas tank was being refilled by a tanker truck, tore off large parts of the facade, blew out windows and destroyed cars parked outside the hotel.
The first four floors of the hotel were gutted.
The luxury property is known for having hosted celebrities such as Madonna, Beyonce, Mick Jagger and Rihanna.