Date: July 12th, 1997
Operator: Cubana de Aviacion
Where: Santiago de Cuba, Cuba
Report No.: Not Available
Report Date: -
This is not an accident investigation report.
July 12, 1997 - Cuban Plane with 44 Aboard Plunges Into Sea Near Santiago De
HAVANA, Cuba - A Cuban An-24 passenger plane with 44 people on board plunged
into the sea on Friday night shortly after take-off from the eastern city of
Santiago de Cuba on a flight to Havana, a Havana airport official said.
The airport official said there were eight foreigners among the 39 passengers
on board the plane, but did not give any indication of their nationality.
The Cubana de Aviacion flight, on a scheduled trip from Cuba's second city to
the capital, was carrying a crew of five.
The official said the plane crashed three minutes after take-off from
Santiago de Cuba, which is about 520 miles (850 km) southeast of Havana. The
official said she had no further details for the moment.
Cuba's worst airline disaster was in September 1989, when 126 people were
killed when a Cuban airlines plane crashed near Havana.
Searchers recovered 17 bodies Saturday from the Cuban airliner that crashed
into the Caribbean off Cuba's southeast coast, an airline official said.
Another 27 people aboard were
- Recovery teams searching Caribbean waters
where a Cuban airliner crashed recovered the plane's in-flight data
recorder and 21 bodies on Saturday, an official report said. The
other 23 people aboard the aircraft were missing.
Cubana de Aviacion Flight 787 plunged into the sea Friday night
about three minutes after takeoff from the southeast city of
Santiago de Cuba en route to Havana, airline spokesman Manolo
Fernandez told The Associated Press by telephone from Havana.
Fernandez said 39 passengers and a crew of five were on the
Russian-made, twin-engine An-24 aircraft. Fernandez said there were
eight non-Cubans on the flight - six Spaniards and two Brazilians.
Cuban navy ships and air force planes searching calm seas about
2 1/2 miles off the coast found the plane's in-flight data recorder,
or black box, and parts of the fuselage, the official Cuban news
agency Prensa Latina reported.
The flight recorder will be examined by a 40-member Cuban
government commission to determine the cause of the accident.
Cuba's Civil Aviation Institute said that local authorities believe
there were no survivors of the crash.
Passenger lists cited by Prensa Latina showed most of the Cuban
victims were residents of Havana, including a 9-year-old girl. Six
Spaniards and two Brazilians also had been aboard the plane.
Fernandez said the search for missing passengers would continue
through the night, aided by air force planes and boats equipped
with search lights.
Santiago de Cuba Mayor Luis Estruch said seven boats,
helicopters and dive teams were participating in the search.
``The accident happened in a very inaccessible area because it
is very deep,'' he told reporters. ``We are trying to recover the
largest amount of bodies possible and to face this difficult moment
with the cooperation of everyone.''
The An-24, which can carry about 50 people, has been out of
production since 1978. More than 1,000 were built and many went
into service beginning in the early 1960s, mostly in former Soviet
In Havana, a few people waited early Saturday at the city's
international airport for word on those aboard the flight from
Santiago de Cuba, which is about 500 miles southeast of Cuba's
capital. Others arrived earlier and left; officials at the airport
refused to speak to reporters.
July 16, 1997 Update- Report: Cuban Planes Engine Failed (12/07/97)
MEXICO CITY- The crash of a passenger jet off the Cuba
coast that claimed 44 lives was probably caused by the failure of
one of the plane's two engines, a Cuban investigative commission
Wreckage has yet to be recovered from deep waters off Cuba's
southeastern coast, but thus far there is no evidence of any
explosion during Friday's crash of the Russian-built An-24 jet,
said a report issued Tuesday by the State Investigation Commission
of Cuba's Civil Aviation Institute.
``The most credible hypothesis about the probable cause of the
accident is that the left-side engine ceased functioning during
takeoff,'' the official Cuban news agency, Prensa Latina, quoted
investigators as saying.
"Cubana de Aviacion Flight 787 plunged into the sea about three
minutes after takeoff from the southeast city of Santiago de Cuba
en route to Havana."
A voice data recorder recovered by Cuban search terms did not
contain any clues to what caused the crash. The plane's data
recorder, or black box, has yet to be located.
The plane was in good mechanical condition and had received
appropriate maintenance prior to the flight, the report said.
Flight control and airport services also were ruled out as possible
causes of the accident.
The bodies of 22 of the 44 people aboard the flight have been
recovered. Twenty-one of them have been identified and turned over
Thirty-nine passengers and a crew of five were on the flight,
including eight non-Cubans: six Spaniards and two Brazilians.
The search for remaining bodies and the airplane wreckage has
been made difficult by strong currents and deep waters. The crash
site is about 2 1/2 miles off the Cuban coast.
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