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20 April 2024

Cuba air crash toll rises to 112

Photo: AFP

By Reuters/AFP

A woman died in a Cuban hospital Friday after suffering severe burns, bringing to 112 the number of victims from last week's crash of a Cuban airliner.

The death of Emiley Sanchez de la O, 40, leaves only one survivor from the May 18 crash of the Boeing 737 operated by national carrier Cubana de Aviacion.

Mailen Diaz, 19, remains hospitalized with a guarded prognosis.

The only other survivor, Gretell Landrove, 23, died on Monday.

They were on a domestic flight to the eastern city of Holguin, where most of the passengers were from, when the 39-year-old plane went down.

It was leased from Global Air, a Mexican company, and carried 113 passengers and crew.

The dead included six Mexican crew members and five foreign passengers: two Argentines, one Mexican and two passengers from Western Sahara.

An investigation into the country's worst air disaster in decades is expected to take months.

Cuba retrieves second black box from deadly plane crash

Cuban search teams have retrieved the flight data recorder from the passenger plane that crashed last Friday, killing all but two of the 113 people on board, Cuban state-run television announced on Thursday in the evening news broadcast.

They had already found the cockpit voice recorder. Videos of the tragedy taken by passers-by and locals, plus their testimony had helped investigators locate the second recorder.

Both, known as the "black box," are crucial to explaining what went wrong with the 39-year-old plane which dived into fields south of Havana shortly after takeoff, bursting into flames.

The Boeing 737, leased by the little-known Mexican company Damojh to Cuba's flagship carrier Cubana, had been destined for the eastern city of Holguin and 100 of the victims were Cuban.

Seven Mexicans, two Argentines and two Sahrawis from a disputed area in the Western Sahara known as the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic also died in the tragedy.

Cuba is leading the probe into the crash, one of the Caribbean island's worst ever, together with Mexican and U.S. investigators.

Only two Cuban women have survived but are in a critical condition due to burns and other trauma, the director of the hospital where they are being attended has said.

Mexico’s civil aviation authority said on Monday it had suspended Damojh’s operations while it made sure the firm adhered to regulations and gathered information to help investigators find the cause of the crash.

Previous complaints over inadequate maintenance and safety measures have surfaced in recent days.