A Boeing 737 operated by state airline Cubana, which had 113 people on board reportedly crashed on take-off from Jose Marti International Airport in Havana.
The plane, with 104 passengers and nine crew aboard, ploughed into a farm field where firefighters sprayed the charred fuselage with hoses. A military officer said there appeared to have been only three survivors in critical condition, but other officials declined to confirm that figure.
The plane was rented by Cubana, which has taken many of its ageing planes out of service in recent months due to mechanical problems.
Officials said the plane was headed to the eastern city of Holguin when it crashed between the airport in southern Havana and the nearby town of Santiago de Las Vegas.
The plane was rented by Cubana, which has taken many of its aging planes out of service in recent months due to mechanical problems. It is notorious for its frequent delays and cancellations. An employee of a small Mexican charter firm named Global Air says the aircraft belongs to the company.
He said he had no information on the six Mexican crew members or the more than 100 passengers of various nationalities. The employee asked not to be named as the company is still not issuing formal statements.
Websites offering the firm’s services say it flies to Cuba and operates several 737 planes. Founded in 1990, the company operates under the legal name Aerolineas Damojh, S.A. de C.V.
A look at major plane crashes in Cuba in recent years:
— May 18, 2018: A Boeing 737 operated by state airline Cubana crashes on takeoff from Jose Marti International Airport in Havana with 104 passengers on board. There was no immediate word on casualties. The plane was headed to the eastern city of Holguin and crashed between the airport in southern Havana and the nearby town of Santiago de Las Vegas.
— April 29, 2017: A Cuban military plane crashes into a hillside in the western province of Artemisa, killing eight troops on board, the government said. The Soviet-made AN-26 took off from the Playa Baracoa airport outside Havana and crashed outside the town of Candelaria about 40 miles (65 kilometres) away.
— Nov. 4, 2010: An AeroCaribbean flight from Santiago to Havana went down in bad weather as it flew over central Cuba, killing all 68 people aboard, including 28 foreigners. It was the country’s deadliest air disaster in more than two decades. Cuban aviation authorities later blamed bad weather and pilot error for the crash.
— Sept. 4, 1989: A chartered Cubana plane flying from Havana to Milan, Italy, went down shortly after takeoff, killing all 126 people on board, as well as at least two dozen on the ground.
— Oct. 6, 1976: Cubana flight from Barbados to Jamaica is blown up by bomb, killing 73. The attack is blamed on exiles with ties to U.S.-backed anti-Castro groups. Both of the men accused of masterminding the crime took shelter in Florida, where one, Luis Posada Carriles, lives to this day.