Cuba: A Boeing 737 with 104 passengers and 9 crew aboard crashes at take-off from Havana

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Airport sources and witnesses said a Boeing 737-200 heading for Holguin, in eastern Cuba, crashed shortly after take-off from Havana airport.

The Global Aerolineas Damojh plane registered XA-UHZ in Mexico and operating flight CU972 for Cubana de Aviacion crashed Friday shortly after taking off from Jose Marti airport in Havana. 104 passengers and 9 crew were on board, according to the state television which specified that the crew is foreign.

State agency Prensa Latina reported an “accident” near the international airport, while airport sources and witnesses said a Boeing 737 heading to Holguin (east of Cuba) crashed shortly after take-off at 12:08 local time (16:08Z). A thick column of smoke was rising near the airport, said these sources.

The human toll remains unknown for the moment, but Cuban President Diaz-Canel mentions “a high number” of victims. “A regrettable air accident has occurred, the news is not encouraging, there seems to be a high number of casualties,” he told reporters near the crash site.

Three passengers were brought in critical condition to a hospital, the state-run newspaper Granma reported. They are believed to be the only survivors of the crash.

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