Plane crashes and erupts in Cuba

A Boeing 737 passenger jet with more than 100 people aboard crashed in a huge fireball Friday after taking off on a domestic flight from Havana, Cuba, according to reports.

There were no immediate reports on casualties, but images from the scene showed widespread, smoldering wreckage surrounded by dozens of onlookers.

Residents of the rural area said they had seen some survivors being removed in ambulances.

State media outlets said the plane, which was headed to the eastern city of Holguin, crashed near a high school between the airport in southern Havana and the nearby town of Santiago de las Vegas.

The airliner was rented by Cubana de Aviacion, the country’s national airline, from Blue Panorama, according to

Cuba’s ambassador in the US, José Ramón Cabañas, said in a social-media post that 104 passengers were on the flight, which went down about 12:30 p.m. near the Jose Marti International Airport.

Government officials including President Miguel Diaz-Canel rushed to the site, along with a large number of emergency medical workers and ambulances.

In the last few weeks, Cuba’s national carrier had to ground a number of its aging planes because of safety issues, according to CNN.

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