Havana, Nov 5 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 cubadebate.cu 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 cubadebate.cu 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.
Charter plane crashes in Pakistan, no survivors
A small plane with at least 21 people on board chartered to international oil company ENI crashed after taking off from Pakistan’s Karachi airport on Friday, killing all on board, an aviation official said.
Pervez George, a spokesman for Pakistan’s Civil Aviation Authority, said the aircraft crashed near a military ordnance depot at Karachi’s Jinnah International Airport due to a technical fault soon after taking off.
He added it was en route to an oil field near Bhit Shah in Sindh province, some 190 km (118 miles) northeast of Karachi.
"When it took off, just after one minute, the pilot contacted the control tower saying that there was a fault in one of the engines. He was asked to return, but as it was turning back, it crashed," George said.
He said there were 19 passengers and two crew on board. At least 12 bodies have been recovered so far. Aviation officials said there was at least one foreigner on board.
"The plane has been destroyed," said Lt. Colonel Noor Agha, an army official supervising recovery operations. "The dead bodies are burned beyond recognition. It could not be recognised whether they are men or women. We don’t know nationalities."
Civil aviation officials said the small aircraft was chartered by oil company ENI, which is based in Italy. No one from the company was responding to phone calls and the nationalities of those killed were not immediately available.