Passenger plane crashes in Cuba, killing more than 100 people

More than 100 people were killed in a fiery crash of a Boeing 737 passenger plane in Cuba on Friday, with just three seriously injured survivors in hospital after being pulled from the wreckage, officials and state media said.

The aircraft, on a domestic flight to Holguin in eastern Cuba, crashed shortly after taking off from Havana at 11 a.m. (1500 GMT). There were either 104 or 105 passengers, including five children, plus nine crew members, various state media said.

Five of the passengers plus the crew were foreign, media reports said. The Mexican government said Mexicans citizens were among the dead, without providing further details.

“We should expect that the news will not be good, as there are a high number of people who appear to have been killed,” President Miguel Diaz-Canel said in broadcast comments.

The aircraft, on a domestic flight to Holguin in eastern Cuba, crashed shortly after taking off from Havana at 11 a.m. (1500 GMT). There were either 104 or 105 passengers, including five children, plus nine crew members, various state media said.

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Five of the passengers plus the crew were foreign, media reports said. The Mexican government said Mexicans citizens were among the dead, without providing further details.

“We should expect that the news will not be good, as there are a high number of people who appear to have been killed,” President Miguel Diaz-Canel said in broadcast comments.

CUBANA COMPLAINTS

Boeing Co (BA.N) said in a statement its technical team stood “ready to assist as permitted under U.S. law and at the direction of the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board and Cuban authorities”. The United States has a decades-old trade embargo on the island.

Boeing 737 aircraft use engines made by CFM International, the supplier of the world’s most-used engines, built by a joint venture of GE (GE.N) and France’s Safran (SAF.PA).

On Thursday, Cuba’s First Vice President Salvador Valdés Mesa had met with Cubana bosses to discuss public complaints about its service, according to state-run media. Problems included the cancellation of numerous domestic flights this year, and long delays which the company said were caused by technical problems with its aircraft.

Earlier this month, the company was ordered to suspend flights by its six Russian built AN-158 aircraft, of which most had reportedly already been grounded.

The last fatal crash in Cuba was in 2017, the Aviation Safety Network said. It was a military flight that killed all eight on board. In 2010, a commercial Aero Caribbean plane crashed in central Cuba. All 68 people on board were killed.

The latest available information on Cuba from U.N. safety aviation agency ICAO, dating back to 2008, ranks it above the global average, though that preceded the latest three crashes.

Reuters

News Reporter

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