At least 77 people have been injured in a lightning strike at a crude oil storage facility in Cuba. Seventeen firefighters are missing. That explains the provincial government of the Cuban region of Matanzas on Saturday, reports AP news agency.

    Lightning struck during a storm on Friday evening in a storage facility that is located on a site with several oil depots, after which a fire broke out that spread and led to four explosions. On Saturday around 6 p.m. Dutch time, the Cuban Ministry of Energy and Mines announced via Twitter that extinguishing activities are still ongoing. The number of injured is expected to continue to rise.

    A local resident informed the AP news agency that a lot of smoke and flames are visible and that there is a strong smell of sulfur in the area. A residential area close to the oil storage facility has been evacuated. About 140,000 people live in Matanzas, located about 100 kilometers from the capital Havana. Cuba has requested international help to put out the fire.

    Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel traveled directly to the affected region on Saturday morning local time. He wrote on Twitter that the missing firefighters must be found. “The situation is difficult, but we will get out of this too,” said Díaz-Canel. “It may take some time to put out the fire, but the road to recovery is already being mapped out.”

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