A deadly blast at an iconic hotel in central Havana on Friday killed at least 22 people and injured more than 70.

Rescuers arrived at the scene when crowds gathered near the Saratoga Hotel after an explosion in the area in the morning.

Havana resident Barbara Pineda lives nearby.

“I felt a clear explosion, a single“ boom ”and saw the crystals crack and fall, as well as a white cloud of dust that didn’t go away. But I managed to close the door and go here, in the opposite direction from danger. “

Speaking at the scene on Cuban television, President Miguel Diaz-Canel said the blast, which tore apart several floors of the hotel, was caused by a gas leak.

He later told Reuters, in no way was it a bomb or an attack. It’s just a very annoying case

The blast sparked a brief wave of panic in the old Havana area.

The hotel was under reconstruction, and at the time of the explosion there were only workers, according to state television.

State media added that search and rescue efforts were ongoing and said it was unclear whether additional casualties remained in the rubble.

In an interview on air, a representative of the military company, which operates many hotels in the country, also said that the cause was a gas leak.

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