A devastating plane crash in central Cuba early Friday has killed 68 people and left no survivors.
The Aerocaribbean plane carried 40 Cubans and 28 foreigners as it left the eastern province of Santiago de Cuba on its journey to the capital city of Havana. The Civil Aviation Institute of Cuba said that Flight 883 lost contact with air traffic control around 5:42 pm on Thursday. The plane went down in the rural part of the central province of Sancti Spiritus.
Rescue crews spent Friday morning using heavy machinery to sort through the debris left from the wreckage. Authorities are still trying to determine the cause of the crash.
Victims of the flight included 40 Cubans, 9 people from Argentina, 7 from Mexico, 3 from the Netherlands, 2 Germans, 2 Austrians and one person from each country of Spain, France, Italy, Japan and Venezuela. Argentina’s President Cristina Kirchner has sent a plane to Cuba to retrieve the bodies of those victims from her country.
Witnesses say the plane made several sudden movements before it plunged toward the ground. Upon impact the plane burst into flames.
The last plane crash in Cuba was in March of 2002 and claimed 16 lives.