CARAMBOLA, Cuba -- A Cuban military plane crashed into a hillside Saturday in the western province of Artemisa, killing eight troops on board, the government said.
Cuba's military said in a statement that the Soviet-made AN-26 took off from the Playa Baracoa airport outside Havana at 6:38 a.m. and crashed outside the town of Candelaria about 40 miles away.
The weather was clear and sunny. The military said a special commission would investigate the cause of the crash. Officials did not immediately release any further information.
"At about 7 a.m. I was sitting in front of the cafe and I saw an airplane, which I watched because it looked slow, almost touching the palm trees," said Regla Maria Gallardo in Carambola, a community in Artemisa surrounded by mountains. "After a bit I heard what had happened."
Carambola residents watched as ambulances arrived and police and soldiers blocked the road leading to the accident site.
In November 2010, an AeroCaribbean flight from Santiago to Havana went down in bad weather as it flew over central Cuba, killing all 68 people aboard, including 28 foreigners, in the country's deadliest air disaster in more than two decades. In 1989, a chartered Cubana de Aviacion plane flying from Havana to Milan, Italy, went down shortly after takeoff, killing all 126 people on board, as well as at least two dozen on the ground.