(Updated with revised casualty figure)
A Boeing 737-200 operated by Mexican charter company Damojh Airlines for Cuban state carrier Cubana crashed Friday afternoon soon after takeoff from Havana’s Jose Marti International Airport, killing 110 of the 113 passengers and crewmembers aboard. Rescuers initially pulled four survivors from the burned wreckage but one died on the way to a local hospital.
The 39-year-old 737 took off from Havana shortly after noon on its way to the eastern city of Holguin, when early during its ascent, it veered to the right and plummeted to the ground in what the BBC described as an agricultural area of Santiago de las Vegas some six miles from the airport.
Although Cubana has maintained a relatively good safety record in recent years, it has also suffered an inordinate number of delays and cancellations due to parts shortages resulting from U.S. sanctions. It therefore has had to hire extra lift from charter companies such as Damojh.
In a statement, Boeing expressed condolences for those killed and said it would assist in the investigation. “A Boeing technical team stands ready to assist as permitted under U.S. law and at the direction of the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board and Cuban authorities,” it said.