Plane crash in Cuba kills 68

by William ASTON on November 5, 2010

A crash in central Cuba killed 68 people on Friday. With no passengers surviving, the Cuban Aerocaribbean jet was heading from Santiago de Cuba to Havana.

It was reported that the pilot radioed in an emergency at 530pm local time less than one hour after taking off from Santiago. According to officials, there was bad weather at the time of take off due to the advancing tropical storm Tomas.

The domestic flight was carrying 28 tourists on board the flight when it crashed, leaving everyone including cabin crew dead. Cuban journalists arriving at the scene said that bodies were being pulled from the burning aircraft, but that emergency response teams were having difficulty accessing the crash site, which was in the middle of a large bush.

Local residents have been aiding rescue efforts as searches continue for human remains. A commission has been established to investigate the cause of the accident.

The eastern part of Cuba was issued storm warnings on Thursday as tropical storm Tomas drew closer to the eastern coastline. Later in the day Friday, all flights were suspended from the Santiago de Cuba airport.

The ATR-72 domestic aircraft was commissioned by the Franco-Italian Avions de Transport Regional in 1989 and had capacity for 74 passengers. Meanwhile, tropical storm Tomas continues to draw closer to Haiti as it builds back up to hurricane strength.

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