Officials: Cuba Plane Crash Leaves 110 Dead
HAVANA (CBSNEWS) -- The only three survivors of Cuba's worst aviation disaster in three decades were clinging to life Saturday, a day after their passenger jet crashed in a fireball in Havana's rural outskirts with 113 people on board.
In the first official death toll provided by authorities, Transportation Minister Adel Yzquierdo Rodriguez said 110 had died including five children. Official website Cubadebate reported, citing Yzquierdo, that a flight recorder from the plane had been located.
RELATED: Plane Crashes On Takeoff From Havana Airport, Cuban TV Reports
Carlos Alberto Martinez, director of Havana's Calixto Garcia Hospital where the survivors were being treated, said doctors are always hopeful that their patients will recover, but he acknowledged that the three Cuban women were in extremely grave condition.
"We must be conscious that they present severe injuries," Martinez told a small group of journalists. "They are in a critical state."
Cuban officials identified the women as Maylen Diaz, 19, of Holguin; Grettel Landrovell, 23, of Havana; and Emiley Sanchez, 39, of Holguin.
Meanwhile relatives of the dead gathered at a morgue in the capital, weeping and embracing each other, as investigators tried to piece together why the aging Boeing 737 went down and erupted in flames shortly after takeoff early Friday afternoon.
Yzquierdo said those on board included 102 Cubans, three tourists, two foreign residents and six crew members, who were from Mexico.
Maite Quesada, a member of the Cuban Council of Churches, announced that 20 pastors from an evangelical church were among the dead. They had spent several days at a meeting in the capital and were returning to their homes and places of worship in the province of Holguin.
Read the full story on CBSNews.com.
Follow @WJZ on Twitter and like WJZ-TV | CBS Baltimore on Facebook
for more features.