Tuesday 14 August 2018

‘Three survivors’ after plane with over 100 on board crashes on take-off in Cuba

The Boeing 737 operated by Cubana de Aviacion crashed after leaving Jose Marti International Airport in Havana.

Cuba’s President Miguel Diaz-Canel, third from left, walks away from the site where a Boeing 737 crashed (Enrique de la Osa/AP)
Cuba’s President Miguel Diaz-Canel, third from left, walks away from the site where a Boeing 737 crashed (Enrique de la Osa/AP)

By Andrea Rodriguez and Michael Weissenstein in Havana

Three survivors have reportedly been taken to hospital in a critical condition after a plane crashed on take-off from an airport in Cuba.

The Boeing 737 operated by Cubana de Aviacion crashed after leaving Jose Marti International Airport in Havana.

The plane, with 104 passengers and nine foreign crew aboard, ploughed into a farm field where firefighters sprayed the charred fuselage with hoses.

Residents living near the site said they saw at least some survivors being taken away in ambulances.

A military officer said there appear to have been three survivors in a critical condition.

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There were more than 100 passengers on board (Ramon Espinosa/AP)

“It’s a disaster,” the officer said.

State media also reported there were three survivors.

An employee of a Mexican charter firm said the plane belonged to the company and it had a six-person Mexican crew.

“My daughter is 24, my God, she’s only 24!” cried Beatriz Pantoja.

Her daughter Leticia was on board the plane. She and other family members were rushed to a private area inside an airport terminal in the afternoon.

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More than 100 passengers were on board (Ramon Espinosa/AP)

Cubana has placed many of its planes out of service due to maintenance problems in recent months.

An employee who answered the phone at the Mexico City office of Aerolinea Global Air said that the Mexican crew included a pilot and a co-pilot.

Firefighters rushed to extinguish flames engulfing the plane, which was meant to be on a short jaunt to the eastern Cuban city of Holguin.

Government officials including President Miguel Diaz-Canel rushed to the site, along with a large number of emergency medical workers.

On Thursday, Cuban First Vice President Salvador Valdes Mesa met with Cubana officials to discuss improvements to its service.

The airline is notorious for its frequent delays and cancellations, which Cubana blames on a lack of parts and planes due to the US trade embargo on the island.

Friday’s crash was Cuba’s third major accident since 2010.

Press Association

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