Over 100 people have died after a Cubana de Aviacion Boeing 737-200 crashed in the middle of takeoff at Jose Marti International Airport in Havana and went down in a nearby neighborhood around 12:08 pm, according to Cuban state-run television and the BBC.
As a result, the plane, which was rented by the airline and heading 500 miles east to the Cuban city of Holguin, erupted into a huge fireball, resulting in an enormous smoke plume. The scary explosion also happened close to a high school in the Santiago de las Vegas neighborhood, which was nearby the airport. Emergency medical teams, eyewitnesses and residents of the neighborhood where the plane went down all arrived on the scene to help.
While the death toll is reportedly over 100, at least three of the 104 passengers were taken away in ambulances and are now in critical condition.
Also, arriving at the crash scene was Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel. He told reporters, “There has been an unfortunate aviation accident. The news is not very promising, it seems that there is a high number of victims.”
Cubana de Aviacion, the country’s national carrier, has been grounding many of its older planes in the last few months due to safety concerns. However, as of now, the cause of this crash is still not known. Check out video of the smoke cloud below.