An airplane crash near the main airport in Havana, Cuba killed more than 100 people last week and was declared the worst disaster in the country in decades.
Only three women managed to survive the horrific Boeing 737 crash after being pulled out from the wreckage but doctors have said that they are currently in critical condition with little chance of surviving. The four-decade-old plane was carrying 111 people on board – six of whom were members of the cabin crew.
Worst Aviation Disaster in Decades
At 12:08 on Friday, a Boeing 737-201 crashed near the Havana international airport shortly after taking off from the runway and Cuban authorities have launched an investigation to learn the cause behind the tragic incident that took the lives of more than 100 people on board.
The Cuban President, Miguel Diaz-Canel, made a public statement after visiting the crash site to give the bad news that a large number of passengers on the plane had died in the ‘unfortunate aviation accident’. He also declared two days of mourning across the country to honor the victims who had lost their lives. Most of the passengers on board were Cuban whereas the six crew members were from Mexico.
Last week’s crash of the 30-year-old Boeing airplane became the deadliest aviation accident in the Caribbean Island in the past 30 years, killing more than 100 passengers on board while the remaining three passengers who miraculously survived are still in critical condition in hospital, according to the information received from the officials.
Witnesses Describe the Crash
Two days ago, the investigators recovered the black box and the cockpit voice recorder from the wreckage but it is still too early to speculate the cause of the crash. According to the eye witnesses who spotted the plane in the skies moments before the crash said that the aging Boeing 737 suddenly caught fire and left a trail of smoke behind it as it rapidly descended towards a field close to the main airport in Havana where it had taken off.
Jose Luis, an employee at the supermarket close to the runway, told a local news agency that he saw the plane take off but within a few minutes, it was taking a turn back to the airport but crashed into a field nearby before it could make it to the runway.
The crash left the airport staff shocked as it was the first aviation accident witnessed in Cuba in decades. Gilberto Menendez, the owner of a restaurant close to the field where the plane crashed said that he heard a sudden explosion around noon and soon a huge cloud of black smoke emerged from the field.
Survivors in Critical Condition
On the official website of Mexico’s transportation department, it was explained that the plane suffered technical issues during takeoff and descended to the ground within minutes. Boeing has also released a statement in the wake of the incident offering to send a team of technical experts to Cuba right away to investigate the cause of the crash.
However, it is highly unlikely that Boeing will succeed getting its people on Cuban grounds due to the US trade embargo enforced against the Caribbean Island many years ago.
Initially, four survivors were rescued from the wreckage, but one of them passed away while receiving emergency care at the hospital. The death of the passenger was announced by Calixto Garcia hospital’s director, Carlos Alberto Martinez, who also added that the remaining three survivors are also in critical condition. One of them is a 39-year-old woman who suffered severe third degree burns from the explosion on the jet and has been in a coma ever since she was brought to the hospital.
Aging Plane Belonged to a Mexican Company
The ill-fated plane, which was built in 1979, was leased to Cuban national airline Cubana de Aviacion by a Mexican company. Aerolineas Damojh, which was responsible for providing the faulty plane, said that they had thoroughly inspected the aircraft last November and found it to be in a perfect flying condition.
The Mexican authorities have also sent some of their best aviation specialists to join the investigation team in Cuba and are currently inspecting the remaining three operational planes under Aerolineas Damojh.
The aviation industry conducted a research recently proclaiming 2017 the safest year in the industry’s history for commercial air travel but 2018 has been filled with aviation disasters ranging from the military jet accident last month in Algeria which killed at least 250 people to the US-Bangla plane crash in March which resulted in 51 deaths.