No survivors in Cuba airliner crash with 68 aboard
Cuba is reeling after a state airliner crashed in a mountainous region Thursday night, killing all 68 people on board.
According to reports the plane declared an emergency, lost contact with air controllers, then went down near the village of Guasimal in Santi Spiritus province.
There were 61 passengers and seven crew members on the plane when it crashed at about 5:43 p.m. local time, The Associated Press reports.
AeroCaribbean Flight 883 was travelling from Santiago de Cuba in the island nation's east, to Havana, when it got into trouble.
On the plane were nine passengers from Argentina, seven from Mexico, three from the Netherlands, two from Germany, two from Austria, and individual passengers from France, Italy, Spain, Venezuela and Japan.
Another 33 of the passengers were Cuban, along with all seven crew.
Cuba's Civil Aviation Authority released the passenger manifest on Thursday night and confirmed there were no survivors.
"This is very sad," Caridad de las Mercedes Gonzalez, who works at Havana's international airport, said before officials announced the death toll.
"We are very worried. This has taken us by surprise."
The plane was an ATR-72 twin turboprop, making a twice-weekly run from Port-au-Prince, Haiti, to Havana via Santiago de Cuba.
The crash is being investigated but so far the Communist nation has released no details about what may have gone wrong with Flight 883.
Flights were scheduled to be put on hold until after the anticipated arrival of Tropical Storm Tomas, which is expected to pass between Haiti and Cuba on Friday.
The flight would have been one of the last to lift off the tarmac before flights were suspended ahead of the storm.