Police and fire rescuers have launched a joint search operation to find out survivors from the rubble after an explosion late Friday morning destroyed a hotel in Havana,
Cuba, reported CNN. So far four people died and 13 are missing. 

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It is yet to be ascertained what caused the explosion at the Hotel Saratoga in the centre of the city.

People who saw the explosion described it as a “massive blast”, which destroyed buses and cars outside the hotel.

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According to CNN, three floors of the ornate green-and-white stuccoed building were blown out. Crest of dust and smoke could be seen rising from the debris. 

The hotel was built in the 1930s and has had 96 rooms. It was reopened in 2005 after refurbishment.

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“It sounded like a bomb,” said human rights activist Angel Cruza. “There are still many people under the debris.”

The Cuban government cut internet access around the explosion point.

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Photos published by government news media showed severe damage to the hotel, with clouds of dust billowing into the sky.

The website Cubadebate reported that a school next door had been evacuated.

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The five-star hotel has two bars, two restaurants and a rooftop pool, according to its website.

Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel visited the site of the explosion on Friday as Mexico’s foreign minister tweeted his solidarity with the explosion’s victims.

“Our solidarity to the victims and those affected as well as the people of that dear fraternal nation,” Marcelo Ebrard said in a tweet.