Mexico Suspends Damojh Airlines Operations Following Crash

 - May 22, 2018, 11:18 AM

Mexico’s Directorate General of Civil Aeronautics (DGAC) has suspended the license of Damojh Airlines, the operator involved in the May 18 crash of a Boeing 737-200, the civil aviation authority said on Monday.

Damojh operated the 39-year-old narrowbody on wet lease to Cubana during the ill-fated flight from Havana to the eastern Cuban city of Holguin, when, early during its ascent from Jose Marti International Airport it veered to the right and plummeted to the ground in an agricultural area of Santiago de las Vegas some six miles from the airport. As of Tuesday, 111 of the 113 people on board died from their injuries, the latest after spending three days in intensive care. Rescuers originally pulled four survivors from the burned wreckage, but one died on the way to the hospital. 

In a bulletin issued Monday, the DGAC recounted two earlier suspensions of Damojh’s operations due to safety concerns. The first involved an incident on November 4, 2010, in which a Damojh aircraft executed an emergency landing in Puerto Vallarta due to landing gear failure. As a result, the authority subjected the airline to “extraordinary verification,” including the suspension of operations from November 11 to November 18, 2010.

The second suspension resulted from an October 2013 complaint filed by a former Damojh captain over faulty and inadequate maintenance practices. Once again, the DGAC performed what it calls an extraordinary major verification from November 4 to November 8, 2013, resulting in a suspension until Damojh produced certain maintenance documentation.

As of Tuesday, searchers had found the cockpit voice recorder from the destroyed 737 and continued to look for the flight data recorder. Cuban authorities lead the investigation into the crash, while Mexico and U.S. investigators provide assistance.