MORE than 100 people have died after a Boeing 737 airliner crashed and exploded near Jose Marti International Airport in Havana, Cuban state media says. Three people have survived but are in critical condition in hospital, Cuban Communist Party newspaper Granma reported. The plane came down shortly after take-off, crashing in a field.
It was carrying 104 passengers and nine foreign crew, according to local media. "There has been an unfortunate aviation accident. The news is not very promising, it seems that there is a high number of victims," Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel was quoted as saying. The airliner had been leased by state airline Cubana de Aviación from the Mexican company Damojh, Cuban news agency Prensa Latina said.
State TV said it was an internal flight from the Cuban capital to the city of Holguin, in the east of the island. Images showed a thick column of smoke rising above the crash site. Fire crews and ambulances are at the scene. Radio Havana Cuba said on Twitter that the plane came down on the "highway" between Boyeros and Havana, near the airport.