Cuba mourns after over 100 killed in plane crash

Cuba began a two-day period of official mourning Saturday, as investigators continued the grim work of combing throug...

Posted: May 20, 2018 4:27 PM
Updated: May 20, 2018 4:27 PM

Cuba began a two-day period of official mourning Saturday, as investigators continued the grim work of combing through the wreckage of the crashed plane that took the lives of over 100 people.

Cubana de Aviaci-n flight DMJ 0972 was traveling from Havana to Holgu-n when the plane crashed as it was taking off at 12:08 p.m. on Friday.

Amateur video taken shortly after the crash showed a large fireball and thick plume of smoke rising from a field and wooded area bordering the airport.

The Boeing 737-200 was split in several sections, with the plane's burned tail resting against a tree. Passenger belongings were scattered across a wide area.

The death toll is now 110, Cuban Transportation Minister Adel Yzquierdo Rodr-guez said at a Saturday press conference in Havana. The minister said that the victims included 99 Cubans, six Mexican crew members and five foreigners. Among the passengers were four children and an infant, Cuban state media reported.

Three survivors -- all Cuban women -- were in critical condition and being treated in Havana, Cuban state media said.

Argentina's Foreign Ministry said two passengers were Argentine.

One of the three survivors was identified by the state-run newspaper Juventud Rebelde as Emiley S-nchez de la O, 39, of the province of Holgu-n, Cuba. The woman was being treated for serious burns, a broken leg and traumatic brain injury. She had been placed on a ventilator, according to the newspaper.

Cuban state TV identified the other two survivors as Maylen Diaz, 19, from Holgu-n and Gretel Androceo, 23, from Havana.

The state-run newspaper Granma reported Friday that one of the three survivors had died, then issued a correction, saying all three were still alive.

Authorities announced Saturday that they had recovered all the remains of the deceased. Officials estimate identifying the victims could take up to 30 days and are asking relatives to help in the process, Cuban state TV reported.

Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel toured the crash site on Friday and said Cuban officials would seek to determine what caused the crash.

"In addition to lament what occurred and show solidarity to the families," he said. "The events will be investigated and all the information will be shared."

One of the "black boxes" from the plane has been found and is in "good condition," Rodr-guez told Cuban government site Cubadebate. It's not clear if the located "black box" is the flight data recorder or the cockpit voice recorder.

Former Cuban President Raul Castro, recovering from recent hernia surgery, is aware of the crash and is staying informed about the situation, the government said.

Family members of the victims from the city of Holgu-n, Cuba -- more than 700 km (about 435 miles) east of the Cuban capital -- were being brought by bus to Havana to meet with Cuban officials late Friday, according to Cuban state media.

The Cuban government issued a proclamation that the island would observe a period of official mourning from 6 a.m. Saturday morning until midnight on Sunday, and that flags at public buildings and military installations would fly at half staff.

It was not immediately clear what caused the Boeing 737-200 to suddenly crash as it was taking off.

While the plane was flying a route for Cuba's largest national carrier Cubana, the nearly 40-year-old Boeing 737-200 was owned by the Mexican airline Aerol-neas Damoh and leased to Cubana de Aviacion, the Mexican Civil Aviation Authority said in a statement.

The arrangement known as a "wet lease" allows one carrier to provide an aircraft, crew and maintenance to another carrier.

In recent weeks, Cubana has canceled domestic flights and removed planes from service over safety concerns with its own aircraft.

Much of the crash area remained cordoned off Saturday, as Cuban officials continued their investigation into the accident.

Residents said the plane narrowly missed causing more injuries and fatalities on the ground.

"The plane was revving its engines to take off but it couldn't," Orestes Bentancour, who witnessed the crash, told CNN. "Luckily it didn't land on anyone's house."

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 85813

Reported Deaths: 1985
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin25093909
Ramsey10166314
Dakota6895123
Anoka5466130
Stearns359023
Washington343155
Scott230532
Olmsted221726
Nobles191216
Blue Earth15266
Wright14637
Carver12847
Rice12748
Mower12494
St. Louis120228
Clay117940
Sherburne103813
Kandiyohi8982
Winona71418
Lyon6124
Steele4982
Nicollet48416
Watonwan4824
Todd4712
Benton4693
Freeborn4653
Le Sueur4363
McLeod4282
Chisago4131
Waseca4008
Crow Wing38818
Beltrami3554
Otter Tail3544
Goodhue3099
Martin2739
Itasca25413
Polk2534
Becker2332
Carlton2191
Isanti2190
Douglas2121
Cottonwood2110
Pipestone2049
Pine1950
Dodge1810
Morrison1811
Chippewa1801
Sibley1643
Wabasha1570
Brown1522
Meeker1522
Unassigned15052
Murray1482
Yellow Medicine1351
Rock1330
Mille Lacs1323
Faribault1280
Cass1173
Jackson1121
Renville1096
Pennington1051
Houston1040
Roseau1040
Fillmore960
Koochiching963
Swift961
Kanabec928
Redwood880
Lincoln870
Stevens871
Pope780
Aitkin681
Big Stone590
Hubbard590
Wadena590
Grant574
Wilkin553
Norman510
Lake490
Marshall481
Mahnomen421
Red Lake370
Lac qui Parle330
Traverse290
Clearwater240
Lake of the Woods201
Kittson140
Cook60

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 76376

Reported Deaths: 1239
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk14932255
Johnson488827
Woodbury467459
Black Hawk424384
Linn3615101
Story319917
Dallas262838
Scott260026
Dubuque250140
Buena Vista191312
Pottawattamie188137
Marshall174934
Wapello121657
Sioux11803
Webster117414
Muscatine105052
Clinton101818
Cerro Gordo96621
Plymouth95920
Crawford9354
Warren9146
Des Moines7117
Jasper70732
Marion6834
Tama67630
Carroll5955
Lee5697
Wright5471
Henry4744
Dickinson4596
Bremer4477
Boone4316
Washington41411
Louisa41214
Franklin32917
Hamilton3113
Mahaska30819
Delaware3053
Floyd2773
Jackson2763
Winneshiek2715
Clay2653
Hardin2651
Benton2571
Clarke2513
Butler2502
Emmet24110
Winnebago23911
Shelby2381
Jones2313
Allamakee2275
Poweshiek2278
Clayton2233
Buchanan2171
Lyon2143
Cedar2081
Guthrie2075
Chickasaw1960
Grundy1932
Madison1912
Kossuth1900
Howard1764
Fayette1741
Mitchell1710
Hancock1702
Iowa1701
Sac1690
Cherokee1682
Humboldt1682
Harrison1642
Calhoun1612
Mills1531
Pocahontas1462
Palo Alto1450
Monroe1409
Page1400
Jefferson1291
Lucas1276
Monona1251
Cass1242
Appanoose1163
Taylor1161
Osceola1120
Davis1104
Union1093
Van Buren1081
Worth990
Montgomery845
Keokuk831
Greene770
Ida760
Wayne762
Fremont690
Adair591
Decatur580
Audubon481
Ringgold402
Adams270
Unassigned220
Rochester
Clear
41° wxIcon
Hi: 61° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 37°
Mason City
Clear
41° wxIcon
Hi: 65° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 36°
Albert Lea
Clear
41° wxIcon
Hi: 62° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 41°
Austin
Clear
41° wxIcon
Hi: 62° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 41°
Charles City
Clear
43° wxIcon
Hi: 63° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 39°
Cooler to wrap up the work week
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Community Events