World News

Cubana Airlines crashes soon after takeoff from Havana airport.

A Cubana Airlines Boeing 737 with more than 100 passengers has crashed soon after takeoff from Havana airport. Casualties are reported, an airport source says.

Havana airport employee tells AP that airport workers have been alerted that a passenger jet has crashed on takeoff.

The flight, operated by national airline Cubana de Aviacon, was headed to the Cuban city of Holguin on the eastern side of the island.

It crashed near a motorway and high school campus in the Boyeros neighbourhood, located next to the airport.

In a post on social media, Cuba’s ambassador to the US, Jose Ramon Cabanas, said 104 passengers were on board. Casualties have been reported.

According to witnesses, a large fireball followed by a towering plume of smoke was visible near the airport on the outskirts of the Cuban capital.

Local media reported that the plane lay in a farm and appeared heavily damaged and burnt, with firefighters spraying water on the smoldering remains.

Government officials including President Miguel Diaz-Canel rushed to the site, along with a large number of emergency service workers and ambulances.

Cubana de Aviacon has reportedly had to ground some of its ageing fleet due to safety issues, though the cause of this crash is so far unknown.

An aircraft from the same airline was involved in a crash in 2005 when it suffered a mechanical failure during take-off in Caracas.

It lost a wing and an engine before crashing off the motorway – wounding six passengers.

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