Sun | Sep 23, 2018

Cuban plane crash caused by human error

Published:Tuesday | July 17, 2018 | 2:27 PM
CMC photo

HAVANA, Cuba, CMC – Damojh Airlines, the Mexican charter company which owns the plane that crashed in Cuba earlier this year, has attributed the tragedy to “human error”.

According to the company, data recorders showed the Boeing 737 had taken off too steeply.

The crash, on May 18, that killed 112 people, was one of the worst to happen in the Caribbean for decades. 

The plane and its Mexican crew had been leased from Damojh by Cuban state airline Cubana when it came down 12 miles south of Havana.

Eyewitnesses described seeing the jet burst into flames before crashing into a field close to a wooded area near Havana’s main airport.

Damojh said in a statement that “the crew took off at a very steep angle creating a lack of lift which caused the aircraft to plunge”.

The company said it was basing its assessment on data from the plane’s data recorders which had been extracted by a team made up of investigators from Cuba, Mexico,  the US,  representatives from Boeing and engine manufacturers Pratt & Whitney.

However, the Mexican pilots’ union ASPA said Damojh’s statement, which was released before the official investigation has concluded, was “irresponsible”.

A spokesman for the union said Damojh was “just looking to defend their interests” by blaming the crew before the investigation had been concluded.

Following the crash, two former pilots for the company claimed that Damojh had a poor maintenance record.

In the aftermath of the crash, Mexico’s civil aviation authority suspended the company’s operations and said the suspension would remain in place pending the outcome of the investigation.

Most of the victims were Cuban, including 10 evangelical pastors and their spouses.

Of the 113 people on board, 110 died on impact.

Of the three initial survivors, two later died in hospital.

Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel has set up a special commission to investigate the crash.

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