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 Aerogaviota airline’s AN-26 aircraft, which has a capacity for 39 passengers, vanished on Saturday morning. The plane, owned by the Cuban military, departed at 6:38 a.m. from the Playa Baracoa, a tourist destination about 30 minutes west of Havana.
The government-owned airline has a fleet of 22 planes and operates flights to Jamaica and charter flights to Central America. It has been based out of Havana’s Jose Marti International Airport since 1994. The Ukrainian Antonov State Co. modified the AN-26 twin-engined aircraft. It’s a retrofitted Soviet military bomber.
The cause of the crash remained under investigation on Saturday afternoon, according to Granma, the state-run newspaper.
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 en route 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.
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