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  • A student writes in a book of condolences dedicated to her classmate Jose Carlos Figueroa, shown in the picture beside the book, at the University of Havana, Cuba.

    A student writes in a book of condolences dedicated to her classmate Jose Carlos Figueroa, shown in the picture beside the book, at the University of Havana, Cuba. | Photo: Reuters

Published 22 May 2018

Cuban investigators have so far recovered the cockpit voice recorder and are still looking for the flight data recorder.

The death toll in Cuba's worst air disasters in years rose to 111 Monday, Mexico has also suspended the operations of the company that leased the 39-year old Boeing 737 to Cuba's flagship airline.

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Cuba: Plane Crash Death Toll Climbs To 111 As Survivor Dies

Grettel Landrove, a 23-year old Cuban student, died in a Havana hospital from "severe traumatic lesions," local media reported late Monday.

Two Cuban women remained in critical condition due to burns and other trauma, with a high risk of complications, media reports said. Many Cubans are closely following their progress through regular hospital updates.

The airliner crashed shortly after takeoff on a domestic flight from Havana to the eastern city of Holguin Friday in one of Cuba's worst air disasters.

The accident has killed 100 Cubans, 7 Mexicans, two Argentines and two Sahrawis from a disputed area in Western Sahara known as the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic.

The plane was a Boeing 737 built in 1979 and leased to Cuba's flagship carrier Cubana by a little-known Mexican company Damojh.

Mexico's civil aviation authority said Monday it had temporarily suspended Damojh's operations while it made sure the firm adhered to regulations and gathered information to help investigators find the cause of the crash.

Damojh, which owned three 737s before the accident, has been suspended twice before during regulatory compliance reviews, the authority said.

Operations were halted for about a month in 2010 after a Damojh plane made an emergency landing in the Mexican beach resort of Puerto Vallarta due to a problem with its landing gear.

The authority investigated again in 2013 after receiving a complaint from Marco Aurelio Hernandez, who was identified on the weekend by Mexican media as a former Damojh pilot.

Mexican newspaper Milenio quoted Hernandez as criticizing Damojh for a lack of adequate maintenance on its planes.

The 2013 probe led to a suspension for about two months.

Most aircraft accidents take months to investigate. Cuban investigators have so far recovered the cockpit voice recorder and are still looking for the flight data recorder.

Cuba will lead the probe, with the aid of Mexican and other investigators, local media said. It will receive technical assistance from Boeing and Pratt & Whitney, part of the industrial group United Technologies, which manufactured the engines of the plane that crashed.

Friday's crash was the worst in Cuba since a Soviet-built Ilyushin-62M passenger plane came down near Havana in 1989, killing all 126 people on board and another 14 on the ground.


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