HAVANA, Cuba - Investigators who are trying to figure out the reason behind Cuba’s worst air disaster in decades, which killed 110 people, including five children, are now said to have recovered the black box of the plane.
The 39-year-old aging passenger plane, Boeing 737 crashed while on a domestic flight from Havana to Holguin on Friday.
Investigators will now begin the examination of the plane’s black box, hoping that it would give them information about the crash.
The police have revealed that the company that owned the plane that crashed had previously received serious complaints.
Further, a former pilot for Cuba’s national airline and authorities investigating the crash in Guyana said that crews working for the Mexican charter company had been the subject of two serious complaints in the last decade.
According to Guyanese Civil Aviation Director Captain Egbert Field, the plane that crashed, a Boeing 737, was barred from Guyanese airspace last year after authorities discovered that its crew had been allowing dangerous overloading of luggage on flights.
Officials revealed that both the plane and crew had been hired from Mexico City-based Damojh by EasySky, a Honduras-based low-cost airline.
Local reports pointed out that Cuba’s national carrier, Cubana de Aviacion, was also renting the plane and crew in a similar arrangement known as a “wet lease’ before the aircraft veered on takeoff to the eastern Cuban city of Holguin.
It crashed into a field just after 12pm local time on Friday.
Mexican authorities have stated that the company, Damojh had permits needed to lease its aircraft and had passed a November 2017 verification of its maintenance programme.
On Saturday, addressing reporters, Cuban Transportation Minister Adel Yzquierdo Rodriguez said that Cubana had been renting the plane for less than a month under an arrangement in which the Mexican company was entirely responsible for maintenance of the aircraft.
The three survivors of the crash, who had all suffered critical injuries are reportedly receiving treatment at a hospital in Cuba’s capital, Havana.
The Mexican government has now announced that its National Civil Aviation Authority will now carry out an operational audit of Damojh airlines to see if its “current operating conditions continue meeting regulations.”
Meanwhile, the country announced two days of national morning on Saturday after reports noted that the incident was Cuba’s third major air accident since 2010 and its worst since 1989.
Cuba's transport minister announced in a statement that the victims included 99 Cubans, Six Mexican crew members, One Mexican tourist, an Argentine couple and two passengers from the Western Sahara.
The minister also added that 10 evangelical priests and their spouses who had been meeting in Havana for several days and were returning to their homes in Holguin province, were amongst the victims.