Passenger plane 'with 104 on board' crashes in Cuba
News reports confirmed that three passengers are in a critical condition after an airplane carrying more than a 100 passengers crashed in Havana, Cuba.
As reported by CNN, the exact number of casualties is still unknown. The Boeing 737 was en route from Havana to Holguin and crashed soon after taking off from the Jose Marti airport.
A column of smoke could be observed billowing from the end of the runway. Authorities are investigating, but the cause of the crash is not yet known.
Firefighters were dispatched to control the blaze, and local authorities are also at the scene of the incident, along with President Miguel Diaz-Canel and family members of the passengers.
A Boeing 373 passenger plane carrying over 100 people has crashed after taking off from Havana's Jose Marti Airport pic.twitter.com/2yJUctq4dT— SkyNews (@SkyNews) May 18, 2018
The Cubana Airlines flight also had nine crew members on board. The crash follows just weeks after the country's national carrier removed old planes from its fleet due so safety and mechanical issues.
Farmers in the area told reporters that they saw passengers being removed from the wreck and taken away in ambulances.
According to CBS News, relatives and friends of those onboard were taken to an airline terminal where they await news about their loved ones.
The airline had been receiving severe criticism during the past weeks for lousy service delivery, including delayed or canceled flights which many suspect may be due to a lack of mechanical parts for repairs.
The Cubana airline's director general, Captain Hermes Hernandez Dumas, said in April that more than 60% of all flights departed on time and that the airline served approximately 11,000 passengers more than planned.
"Among the difficulties created by the U.S. trade embargo is our inability to acquire latest-generation aircraft with technology capable of guaranteeing the stability of aerial operations."
Captain Hermes Hernandez Dumas, WCJB / As said on State Media, April 2018.
Flight Radar 24 tweeted that it was 'highly likely [they] received any data from the aircraft' but added that they are investigating the matter and trying to gather data.
The airline is yet to release a statement, and photographs taken of the crash site show the massive column of black smoke, which could be seen from miles away.