Dead in Crash, Recorder Found

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The country's last major airline disaster was in November 2010 when a Cuban Aerocaribbean airliner crashed while on a flight from Santiago de Cuba to Havana, killing all 68 people on board, including 28 foreigners.

Officials said three women had survived the crash and were being treated in a local hospital where their condition was descrbed as a critical condition.

Al Jazeera's Shihab Rattansi reports.

President Miguel Diaz-Canel on Saturday visited the morgue, a day after reviewing the site of the crash, which is the first big test of his presidency after taking the reins from Raul Castro last month.

- The aircraft was a Boeing 737-200 leased to Cuba's state airline Cubana de Aviacion by Mexican company Global Air, also known as Aerolineas Damojh.

Firefighters work at the wreckage site of a Boeing 737
Image Firefighters work at the site of the wreckage

Yzquierdo also said the jet's "black box" voice recorder had been recovered and that Cuban officials had granted a US request for investigators from Boeing to travel to the island.

"There has been an unfortunate aviation accident".

The plane was on an internal flight from Havana to the eastern city of Holguin.

A Boeing 737 domestic passenger plane, ferrying 114 passengers including five children and nine crew members from Havana to Holguin, came down shortly after takeoff.

Last year, a Cuban military plane crashed into a hillside in the western province of Artemisa, killing eight troops on board.

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On May 18, A Boeing 737 aircraft with 104 passengers aboard crashed shortly after takeoff from the Jose Marti International airport in Havana, according to state-run TV. An employee who answered the phone at the Mexico City office of the charter business Aerolinea Global Air said the plane belonged to the company and had a six-person Mexican crew.

Global Air said the plane was flying with a crew of six Mexicans - the pilot, co-pilot, three flight attendants and a maintenance technician.

"In terms of hemodynamics, they are stable, but the threat to their life still exists because of the worsening of the serious injuries they sustained".

The lights in the airport suddenly went out, he said, and he was told a plane had crashed.

Mexico's transport department said on its website that "during take-off (the plane) apparently suffered a problem and dived to the ground". "All of a sudden, it made a turn, and went down".

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Boeing Co said in a statement that its technical team stood "ready to assist as permitted under US law and at the direction of the US National Transportation Safety Board and Cuban authorities".

"She is alive but very burnt and swollen", one of the women's relatives at the hospital told Reuters.

A Damojh representative in Mexico said, "we are gathering what we can to give correct information". There were only three survivors, according to officials and state media.

Cuban officials have said they have retrieved one of the plane's black boxes "in good condition".

Mexico's ministry of communications and transportation said the plane had passed inspections in November a year ago.

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Analysts sometimes disagree about which is more to blame for Cuba's troubled aviation industry: the American embargo of the island or the country's own history of economic mismanagement.