A passenger flight carrying 104 people has reportedly crashed shortly after takeoff near Havana, Cuba. The Boeing 737 was believed to be carrying 4 children, including an infant child. The scheduled flight was headed to Holguín, a resort town on the Eastern peninsula, crashing shortly after takeoff in a school district, 12.30 pm local time. Footage taken by locals depicts hundreds of people using the billowing smoke as a navigational point as they hurried towards the crash site.
Cuba’s President Miguel Díaz-Canel confirmed “there (was) a high number of victims” but did not have exact figures on hand when he made his address to the nation. According to CNN, at least 3 people were pulled from the wreckage in critical condition. The first order was to manage the incendiary flames coming from the wreckage. A team of firefighters was tasked with creating visibility so the relief efforts could take effect as quickly as possible. A heavy police presence was also reported at Jose Marti airport, where the plane took off. Residents claim they witnessed survivors being carted off in emergency vehicles. The nature of the investigation is being kept at arm’s length. Signs do however, point to the aging aircraft rented by Cubana de Ación being the main culprit in the crash. The Boeing 737 was moments away from being taken out of service due to “mechanical problems.”