Plane with 68 on board crashes in Cuba, no survivors (Second Lead)

Friday, November 5, 2010

HAVANA - A Cuban passenger plane has crashed in the centre of the country, killing all 68 people on board, including seven crew and 28 foreigners, Cuban state-run news media said early Friday.

A statement by the Cuban Civil Aeronautics Institute (IACC) late Thursday confirmed an ATR-72-212 aircraft of Cuba’s Aerocaribbean SA airlines, en route from Santiago de Cuba to Havana, came down in the central region of Guasimal in the province of Sancti Spiritus.

The state-run news website said early Friday that authorities found no survivors when they reached the wreckage.

The IACC said the aircraft had reported an “emergency situation” at 5:42 p.m. (2242 GMT) Thursday and then lost contact with air traffic control. Authorities were working on establishing the details of the incident, the IACC said, adding that a commission had been formed to investigate.

A list of passengers released by said the passengers consisted of 40 Cubans including the crew, two Germans, two Austrians, three Dutch, one Frenchman, one Italian, one Spaniard, one Japanese, nine Argentinians, seven Mexicans and one Venezuelan.

According to the Escambray newspaper, the wreckage was still on fire, hours after the crash.

The ATR-72 is a French-Italian made twin turboprop aircraft, used mainly for regional and short-haul flights. According to the IACC, it has a maximum passenger capacity of 68 and a range of 1,195 km.

Havana-based Aerocarribean is owed by the Cuban state and covers mostly domestic routes.

The country’s worst air crash was in 1989, when a Soviet-built Ilyushin Il-62 crashed shortly after takeoff in Havana, killing all 115 passengers, including 113 Italians, and 40 people on the ground.

Filed under: Accidents and Disasters

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