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More than 100 die in Cuban plane crash, state media says

A Cuban-operated airliner with at least 110 people aboard has crashed and burned in a field just after takeoff from the Havana airport.

Key points:

  • The nationality of those on board was not immediately clear
  • Wreckage was strewn over an area 20km south of Havana
  • It crashed shortly after takeoff

Cuban media reported three survivors.

There were three seriously injured survivors among more than 110 passengers and crew, Cuban president Miguel Diaz-Canel said.

"There is a high number of people who appear to have died," he said from the scene. "Things have been organised, the fire has been put out, and the remains are being identified."

The aircraft, on a domestic flight to Holguin in eastern Cuba, crashed shortly after taking off from Havana, Cuban state-run media reported.

There were 105 passengers, including five children, and nine crew members onboard.

Smoke rises from the wreckage of a crashed Boeing 737, lying in a lush green field, surrounded by about 50 people.

The fire from the crash had been put out and authorities were identifying bodies, Mr Diaz-Canel said, adding that authorities were investigating the cause of the crash.

Wreckage was strewn over the area 20 kilometres south of Havana, a witness said, and blackened parts of the fuselage were visible.

'She is alive but very burnt'

"We heard an explosion and then saw a big cloud of smoke go up," said Gilberto Menendez, who runs a restaurant near the crash site in the agricultural area of Boyeros.

Carlos Alberto Martinez, the director of Havana's Calixto Garcia hospital, said four victims of the accident had been brought there.

One had died and three others, all women, were in a serious condition, he said.

"She is alive but very burnt and swollen," said a distressed relative of one of the survivors at the hospital.

The flight was leased by airline Cubana from a small Mexican airline called Damojh or Global, Cuban state media said.

Holguin has some of the island's most pristine beaches, and attracts tourists.

Cubana declined to comment.

A Damojh representative in Mexico said, "we are gathering what we can to give correct information".

The nationality of those on board was not immediately clear.

State media said that the crew were foreign, but provided no further details.

Flight tracking websites indicated the flight was CU972, departing Havana at 11am local time.


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