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Cuba is officially mourning this weekend: 110 dead, 3 survivors at plane crash

Cuba is officially mourning this weekend: 110 dead, 3 survivors at plane crash

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President Miguel Diaz-Canel announced an investigation was underway into Friday’s crash of the nearly 40-year-old Boeing 737, leased to the national carrier Cubana de Aviacion by a Mexican company.

Cuba began two days of national mourning on Saturday for victims of the crash of a state airways plane that killed all but three of its 110 passengers and crew.

Three women pulled alive from the mangled wreckage are the only known survivors.

The Boeing crashed shortly after taking off from Jose Marti airport, coming down in a field near the airport and sending a thick column of acrid smoke into the air.

The mourning period is to last from 6:00 a.m. (1000 GMT) Saturday to midnight on Sunday, the Communist Party leader and former President Raul Castro said. Flags are to be flown at half-mast throughout the country.

The plane was on a domestic flight from Havana to the eastern city of Holguin. Most of the passengers were Cuban, with five foreigners, including two Argentines, among them.

The plane — carrying 104 passengers — was almost completely destroyed in the crash and subsequent fire. Firefighters raced to the scene put out the blaze along with a fleet of ambulances to assist any survivors.

Built in 1979, the plane was leased from a small Mexican company, Global Air, also known as Aerolineas Damoj.

Mexico said it was sending two civil aviation specialists to help in the investigation. The six crew members were Mexican nationals.

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Juergen Thomas Steinmetz has continuously worked in the travel and tourism industry since he was a teenager in Germany (1979), beginning as a travel agent up through today as a publisher of eTurboNews (eTN), one of the world’s most influential and most-read travel and tourism publications. He is also Chairman of ICTP.His experiences include working and collaborating with various national tourism offices and non-governmental organizations, as well as private and non-profit organizations, and in planning, implementing, and quality control of a range of travel and tourism-related activities and programs, including tourism policies and legislation. His major strengths include a vast knowledge of travel and tourism from the point of view of a successful private enterprise owner, superb networking skills, strong leadership, excellent communication skills, strong team player, attention to detail, dutiful respect for compliance in all regulated environments, and advisory skills in both political and non-political arenas with respect to tourism programs, policies, and legislation.He has a thorough knowledge of current industry practices and trends and is a computer and Internet junkie.