Cubans mourn dead in plane crash, 20 of 110 bodies identified

Cuban authorities said they have identified 20 bodies and recovered all human remains from the field next to Havana’s International Airport where a passenger jet crashed on Friday, killing 110 people.

The aircraft, a Boeing 737-200, was operated by Mexican charter airline Global Air on behalf of Cubana de Aviación as scheduled domestic flight CU972 from Havana to Holguín.

Shortly after takeoff at 12:00 (16:00 GMT), the aircraft made an unusual turn before crashing into the ground, killing 110 of 113 on board.

The crash was the country’s worst aviation disaster in almost three decades.

Authorities have now begun the process of recovering the remains of the victims, announcing today that 20 bodies have so far been recovered.

Cuba’s chief forensics official, Jorge Gonzalez, said all families had been contacted and asked to provide blood and objects such as photographs and toothbrushes that could be used in identifications.

He said the number of bodies recovered by authorities matches the tally of those on board, accounting for three Cuban women, who were the only survivors and currently hospitalized in serious condition.

Gonzalez said many of the bodies were affected by the trauma of the crash – the flames and the heat – and the identification process could take at least 30 days.

Cuba has declared two days of national mourning over the disaster, with the cause for the crash still under investigation.