An airplane carrying at least 110 passengers crashed during takeoff Friday from the Jose Marti International Airport in Havana, Cuban media reported.
State-run television reported that the Boeing 737 was scheduled to arrive at the Cuban city of Holguin, located on the eastern side of the island.
Jose Ramon Cabanas, Cuba’s ambassador to the U.S., tweeted that state television said the crash occurred at 12:08 p.m. local time in a non-populated area between the towns of Boyeros and San Antonio de las Vegas.
Accidente aéreo en #Cuba:Televisión Cubana acaba de confirmar la noticia que están reportando varios medios digitales. Vuelo llevaba 104 pasajeros. Autoridades y fuerzas de rescate en el lugar, cercano al aeropuerto https://t.co/9UaHdjoVx0
— José Ramón Cabañas (@JoseRCabanas) May 18, 2018
A Boeing-737 aircraft which covered Havana-Holguin route was involved in an accident today near Jose Marti International Airport in this capital without the full details of the incident being known #Cuba https://t.co/JwjuV1tyBM
— Cuban Embassy in US (@EmbaCubaUS) May 18, 2018
Cuban officials have yet to confirm any fatalities or injuries. The state-run Granma reported that three passengers survived the crash and are in critical condition. An anonymous military source verified the number of survivors to the Associated Press.
Tres pasajeros del vuelo Boeing 737-200 lograron sobrevivir al accidente. #Cuba
— Periódico Granma (@Granma_Digital) May 18, 2018
Photos of the crash site showed emergency officials walking through the wreckage. CNN obtained video that showed a huge plume of smoke from the crash. Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel, among other government officials, visited the site today.
— Paul P. Murphy (@murphy_paulp) May 18, 2018
The plane was rented by the state airline Cubana, which AP noted, was previously flagged for its aging planes. Mexican authorities said that the plane was built in 1979.
“Cubana’s director general, Capt. Hermes Hernandez Dumas, told state media last month that Cubana’s domestic flights had carried 11,700 more passengers than planned between January and April 2018. It said that 64 percent of flights had taken off on time, up from 59 percent the previous year,” AP’s Andrea Rodriguez reported.
AP also reported that an employee of a Aerolinea Global Air said the plane belonged to the Mexican charter firm and that a Mexican crew of six people were on board.
PBS NewsHour will update this story as it develops.