Aline Pacheco of Aerolinea Global Air talks to the press in Mexico City, Friday, May 18,2018. A Cuban-operated airliner with at least 110 people on board crashed into a cassava field just after takeoff from Havana's international airport on Friday. An employee who answered the phone at the airline's Mexico City office said that the Mexican crew included a pilot and a co-pilot. Founded in 1990, the company operates under the legal name Aerolineas Damojh, SA de CV. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

The Latest: In Mexico, ex-flight attendant mourns Cuba crash

May 18, 2018 - 5:57 pm
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HAVANA (AP) — The Latest on the plane crash in Havana (all times local):

6:55 p.m.

Former flight attendant Ana Marlen Covarrubias says she knows nearly all the crew members for Mexican charter Global Air who were on a passenger jet that crashed in Cuba with at least 110 people on board.

A tearful Covarrubias says she is sad and at a loss for words. As she puts it: "We are in mourning."

Flight 972 was operated by Cuba's state-run airline, Cubana de Aviacion, on a charter plane hired from Global Air. It crashed Friday shortly after taking off from Havana's international airport.

Authorities have identified the captain, co-pilot, three flight attendants and a maintenance worker who were on the jet.

Covarrubias says the crew members' families are in her thoughts and calls the crash "something really, really, really terrible, a tragedy for us."

Covarrubias spoke to The Associated Press outside Global Air's offices in the Mexican capital. She said she left the company about 2½ years ago after working there for more than seven years.

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5:10 p.m.

Mexican authorities say the Boeing 737-201 that crashed in Cuba on Friday was built in 1979.

A statement from the country's Transportation Department identifies the pilot and co-pilot as Capt. Jorge Luis Nunez Santos and first officer Miguel Angel Arreola Ramirez. It says the flight attendants were Maria Daniela Rios, Abigail Hernandez Garcia and Beatriz Limon.

It adds that the plane was rented by Cuban state carrier Cubana de Aviacion from Aerolineas Damojh. That's the legal name of a small charter company that also goes by Global Air.

In November 2010 a Global Air flight originating in Mexico City made an emergency landing in Puerto Vallarta because its front landing gear did not deploy. The fire was quickly extinguished and none of the 104 people aboard were injured. That plane was a 737 first put into service in 1975.

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3:10 p.m.

Residents living near the site of a plane crash in Cuba tell The Associated Press they saw at least some survivors being taken away in ambulances after an airliner with 113 people on board plummeted after takeoff from Havana's international airport.

A military officer who declined to provide his name to reporters says there appear to have been three survivors in critical condition from the Cubana flight. Other officials have declined to confirm that.

The heavily damaged and burnt plane is lying in a field of yuca-root plants.

The plane was rented by Cubana, and an employee of a small Mexican charter firm says the aircraft belongs to the company. Cuba's state-run airline is notorious for its frequent delays and cancellations.

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3:00 p.m.

An employee of a small Mexican charter firm says the passenger jet that crashed near the Havana airport belongs to the company and that six Mexican crew members were operating it.

An employee who answered the phone at the Mexico City office of Global Air said he had no information on the crew or the more than 100 passengers of various nationalities.

The employee asked not to be named as the company is still not issuing formal statements.

Websites offering the firm's services say it flies to Cuba and operates several 737 planes.

Founded in 1990, the company operates under the legal name Aerolineas Damojh, S.A. de C.V.

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2:30 p.m.

A military officer tells reporters that there appears to have been only three survivors in critical condition after a Boeing 737 crashed on takeoff from Jose Marti International Airport in Havana on Friday with 104 passengers and nine crew aboard.

The officer declined to provide his name and other officials declined to confirm the figure.

The plane came to rest in a yuca field where firefighters sprayed the charred fuselage with hoses.

Officials said the plane was headed to the eastern city of Holguin when it crashed between the airport in southern Havana and the nearby town of Santiago de Las Vegas.

The plane was operated by Cubana. The state airline has taken many of its aging planes out of service in recent months due to mechanical problems.

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1:54 p.m.

A Boeing 737 operated by state airline Cubana crashed on takeoff from Jose Marti International Airport in Havana on Friday with 104 people on board. There was no immediate word on casualties.

State television and websites said the plane was headed to the eastern city of Holguin and crashed between the airport in southern Havana and the nearby town of Santiago de Las Vegas.

The plane lay in a farm field and appeared heavily damaged and burnt, with firefighters spraying water on its smoldering remains. Government officials including President Miguel Diaz-Canel rushed to the site, along with a large number of emergency medical workers and ambulances. Residents of the rural area said they had seen some survivors being taken away in ambulances.

The plane was rented by Cubana, which has taken many of its aging planes out of service in recent months due to mechanical problems.

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