Havana: In a tragic incident, a passenger plane carrying more than 100 people crashed shortly after takeoff from Havana’s main airport, killing most on board.
According to media reports, three survivors – all women – were in a critical condition after the Boeing 737 jet, which was en route from Jose Marti International Airport to the eastern Cuban city of Holguin, came down.
Reportedly, Between 104 and 110 passengers and crew were on flight CU972, which had been scheduled to depart at 11am local time and land an hour and 20 minutes later. But the jet failed to make its destination and came down close to its departure airport, crashing into a field and railway line.
The plane was one of the oldest commercial aircraft in service — almost 39 years old. It was first flown by the US airline, Piedmont, in 1979, and had flown for many other carriers. It lost height shortly after takeoff and crashed in woodland close to the airport.
Havana’s airport is a short way southwest of the Cuban capital, and has pockets of population nearby as well as a major highway near one end of the runway.
There is concern that people on the ground may be among the casualties. Residents of the rural area said they had seen some survivors being taken away in ambulances.
Crash investigators are at the scene alongside police and firefighters.