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Minute to Minute: Cuban President at site of accident

avion escenario acidenteAt 12:08pm today, a Boeing 737-200, leased by Cubana de Aviación, fell to the ground as it was taking off, in an area between José Martí International Airport and the town of Santiago de Las Vegas. Follow our coverage here…

7:09 p.m. Granma’s team closes this coverage and expresses our solidarity with the families of victims


7:00 p.m. Details of survivors

1. White woman, 18 to 25 years of age, cranial trauma, fractured pelvis, tibia, and fibula, facial lesions. The patient arrived in shock, having lost blood, experiencing hemodynamic instability. Serious condition.

2. White woman, around 30 years of age with acute subdural hemorrhage, a fractured right femur and both tibias. The patient underwent surgery.

3. Emiley Sánchez de la O, appears to be the third survivor, resident of Urbano Noris, in Holguín, 39 years of age. Fractures of both tibias and fibulas, burns on 30% of the body, cranial trauma, on respirator.


6:38 p.m. Adel Yzquierdo Rodríguez explains identification process

Data on identification cards is verified and confirmation is secured that the person lives at the address listed. If this is not the case, the actual residence must be located. Cuban authorities are conducting very careful work at this stage, given the sensitive nature of the complicated task of identification for family members, the minister of Transport explained.


6:33 p.m. Mexican government reports facts on the airplane involved in the accident

The Secretary of Communications and Transport of Mexico has announced technical data on the aircraft, as well as the names of crew members, all of Mexican nationality. The commanding pilot was identified as Captain Jorge Luis Núñez Santos; first officer: Captain Miguel Ángel Arreola Ramírez; in charge of the cabin: María Daniela Ríos; and flight attendants: Abigail Hernández García and Beatriz Limón.

Aircraft data: Registration: XA-UHZ Brand: Boeing Model: B737-201 ADV Year of fabrication: 1979 Owner: Aerolíneas Damojh, S.A. de C.V. Operator: Cubana de Aviación.


6:27 p.m. Statement made following first government meeting to assess the event

The Party, state, and government, in conjunction with the Ministry of Transport and Cuban Civil Aeronautical authorities share the families pain.


6:09 p.m. Condolences from Nicaragua

Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega and Vice President Rosario Murillo expressed their solidarity with the people and government of Cuba in the wake of the aviation disaster which occurred today near Havana’s José Martí International Airport.


5:28 p.m. Mexican embassy in Cuba activates emergency protocols

The Mexican embassy in Cuba has activated its emergency protocols given the unfortunate event, with the purpose of attending families and friends of crew members and passengers, and those seeking information.

The Secretary of Foreign Relations (SRE) Twitter account indicated that the country’s Foreign Ministry had made available several emergency telephone numbers: +53 52869620, +53 56050732 y +53 52804811, as well as the e.mail:


5:45 p.m. The majority of passengers were Cuban

After several imprecise reports while investigation of details related to the accident was in progress, it has been confirmed that the majority of passengers on the plane were Cuban, with the exception of five travelers from abroad and the crew.


5:22 p.m. More details from Holguín

Granma’s correspondent in Holguín, Germán Veloz Placencia, reports that the province’s Party Secretary Luis Antonio Torres Iríbar has sent condolences to families of the victims and confirmed that a flight to Havana will depart tonight, with a representative from each family to identify bodies.

At this time, efforts are underway to locate families to determine who will travel tonight by air. A bus to Havana will also leave tomorrow morning with those who are not able to go tonight, while efforts continue to locate relatives in other provinces, principally Las Tunas and Granma.


5:00 p.m. Frank País International Airport in Holguín establishes special command post

Frank País International Airport in Holguín has established a special command post, where present at this time are Army Corps General Ramón Espinosa Martín, deputy minister of the Revolutionary Armed Forces and Chief of the Eastern Strategic Region; first secretary of the Party in the province, Luis Antonio Torres Iríbar; and Julio César Estupiñán, president of the Provincial Assembly of People’s Power. A flight is scheduled to depart Holguin at 10pm to transport families of the victims to Havana, for the identification of bodies.


4:52 p.m. Central Criminalistics Lab conducting investigations

According to Granma reporter Sumaily Pérez, who is at the site of the accident, said theCentral Criminalistics Lab affiliated with the Civil Aeronautics Institute is conducting investigations.

Families of passengers have made facial reconstructions about, povoded photos, and other information about the deceased to help identify bodies.


Cuban authorities are providing these family members all accommodations necessary during their stay here.

4:27 p.m. Cuban authorities will meet family members of victims who have been able to arrive on the island, to identify relatives on the flight.


4:15 p.m. from Calixto García Hospital

Three survivors are being treated at the hospital, according to its director Martínez Blanco, a Council of State member who told Cuban television that the facility is prepared to respond to this type of emergency. One patient is undergoing surgery at this time, and one is being examined to determine next steps.

Four survivors were transported to the hospital. The one man has died, and the three women in critical condition are being treated.


4:10 p.m. Report from Susana Antón, at the airport

The settlement in the municipality of Boyeros closest to the accident has a population of approximately 800. No human or material damage has been reported.


4:05 p.m. Cuban President offers condolences to families of victims

President Miguel Díaz-Canel told Cuban television:

This is an unfortunate aviation accident and we are obliged to wait, because the news is not promising.

In the name of the Cuban government and the Communist Party of Cuba, we lament the event and join those offer condolences to the families for this tragic accident. Within a short time, the maximum transportation authorities were here. Here is the minister… authorities from the city, the airport, the Ministry of the Interior of Public Health, forensics… and all measures prepared for this type of even were adopted.

The fire was extinguished; a commission is investigating the facts. In addition to lamenting the events and expressing solidarity with the families, the events are being investigated and all the information will be made available. No workplace or dwelling was damaged. The population has behved with much discipline and is collaborating.


3:00 p.m. The aircraft was rented by Cubana de Aviación from Global Airlines.

Passengers and crew members totaled 105, including one infant under two years of age and four children.


2:09 p.m. Three passengers have survived the accident. They are hospitalized in critical condition.
Cuban President Miguel Mario Díaz-Canel Bermúdez is onsite, along with Havana authorities.
Health Minister Roberto Morales, a Council of State vice president, is at José Martí International Airport.
1:00 p.m. Granma reporter Sumaily Pérez Carrandi is on site to report details.
Local residents helped locate the remains of the aircraft. Six fire trucks and several ambulances are at the site of the accident.

Foto: Roberto Garaycoa Martínez

The Ministry of Transport has confirmed that at 12:08pm today, a Boeing 737-200, leased by Cubana de Aviación, with a contracted foreign crew and 104 passengers aboard, traveling from Havana to Holguín on flight DMJ 0972, fell to the ground as it was taking off, in an area between José Martí International Airport and the town of Santiago de Las Vegas. Search and rescue teams are at the site.

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