More than 100 lives were lost when a Boeing 737 crashed soon after taking off from Havana in what appeared to be Cuba’s worst air disaster in nearly 30 years, and there were only three survivors, officials and state media said on Friday.
The passenger plane, on a domestic flight to Holguin in eastern Cuba, crashed at 12:08pm. There were 105 passengers, including five children, plus crew members, state media reported.
Cuban state media reported that three women had been pulled alive from the mangled wreckage and were in critical condition in hospital.
They were the only known survivors from the nearly 40-year-old Boeing 737, operated by Cubana de Aviacion. It crashed into a field close to a wooded area near Jose Marti airport, sending a thick column of acrid smoke into the air.
The 110 people aboard included six Mexican crew, said the Mexico-based company that leased the plane, Global Air, also known as Aerolineas Damojh.
President Miguel Diaz-Canel said in broadcast comments that a high number of people appeared to have been killed. He said the fire from the crash had been extinguished and authorities were identifying bodies.
He said an investigation into the cause of the accident was underway.
Cuba declared two days of national mourning.
Raul Castro sent condolences to families of the victims of the “catastrophic accident,” a statement read, as Russian President Vladimir Putin and a string of Latin American leaders also expressed sympathy.