Aerocaribbean aircraft crashes in Cuba killing 68

Aerocaribbean aircraft crashes in Cuba killing 68

An aircraft operated by Aerocaribbean has crashed in central Cuba, killing all 68 passengers and crew on board local media have reported.

The state-run aircraft had been flying from the eastern city of Santiago de Cuba to Havana when it came down near the town of Guasimal in Santi Spiritus province.

No survivors were located when rescuers reached the site, Cuba’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said.

The CAA added Flight 883 lost contact with air traffic controllers around 17:42 local time.

Bad weather has been cited as a possible factor in the crash. A tropical storm warning had been issued in Santiago de Cuba province where the plane took off.

“At the moment, aviation and regional authorities are gathering the facts and details and have created a commission to investigate such a regrettable accident,” the Civil Aviation Authority statement said.

Photos from the local newspaper Escambray posted on Cubadebate early Friday showed rescue crews using heavy machinery to comb through the rubble of the French-built ATR twin turboprop.

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Victims

A list of victims posted on the Cubadebate site comprised of 40 Cubans, nine people from Argentina, seven people from Mexico, three people from the Netherlands, two people from Germany, two people from Austria and one person each from Spain, France, Italy, Japan and Venezuela.

Preliminary reports indicate the plane crashed near the Zaza Reservoir, the largest reservoir in Cuba, according to state media.

The last plane crash in Cuba occurred in March 2002, Cubadebate said, when a plane carrying tourists crashed in the central province of Villa Clara.

Sixteen people were killed in that crash.