Canadian vacationers stranded in Cuba following plane crash
In the wake of a horrific plane crash in Cuba that claimed the lives of 110 people, dozens of Canadians are now stranded in the country, wondering when they will be able to fly home.
On Friday, a Cubana de Aviacion flight out of Havana crashed shortly after takeoff, killing all but three of its 113 passengers and crew members. The crash is being labelled the worst Cuban aviation disaster in more than three decades.
Nancy Charland of Montreal was supposed to head home Friday with Cubana from Cayo Largo del Sur, a small island off the country’s southern coast. She says has been unable to get answers from the airline about when she will actually depart.
“I've been trying to hold it together,” Charland told CTV Montreal. “I have little doubts (where) I start crying because I'm super stressed. I hardly sleep.”
Charland is not alone in her predicament: she says there are 150 other Canadians now stranded in Cayo Largo alone.
Among those is Michael Renard, who booked his Cuban vacation through travel agency Caribe Sol. Renard says he hasn’t been able to get any updates on the status of his flight home.
“Every few hours we keep getting told to come back to get more information,” he said. “(The customer representative) came in this morning she told us that we might not actually be leaving this afternoon, it could be extended until tomorrow or even possibly towards more the end of the week.”
Charland says passengers were told there might be room for 16 people to fly to Varadero and catch another flight to Montreal, but were not given information on which of the stranded passengers would be able to board the flight.
“They're asking us to choose within ourselves,” Charland claimed.
Cubana, a state-run airline, has become notorious for delays and cancellations. It had been renting planes through a Mexican company that had been the subject of investigations involving overloaded planes.
Both Cubana and Caribe Sol did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Caribe Sol is paying for the extended stay of its stranded customers.
With a report from CTV Montreal’s Angela MacKenzie