On Saturday, recovered black boxes from the ill-fated Cubana de Aviacion aircraft – which claimed the lives of more than 110 people – disclosed a litany of serious documented complaints.
Head of Guyana's civil aviation body, Captain Egbert Field, told the Associated Press that the crashed airplane had been barred, last year, from being used in Guyanese airspace. Field explained that the crew was found to be overloading luggage on flights in Cuba.
The almost four-decade-old airplane was leased from Mexican company Damojh, and operating on a domestic Cuban route when the accident occurred. Over half of the victims are from Holguin, where the flight was headed at the time of the crash.
Mexican newspaper Milenio cited former Damojh pilot, Marco Aurelio Hernandez, who added that he had “experienced several incidents at this company, like engine failure or the electrical system went when we took off from Mexico on one occasion.”
While former Cubana employee, Ovidio Martinez Lopez, recounted an incident involving a captain and co-pilot being suspended for “problems and serious lack of technical knowledge.” Lopez added that “many flight attendants, flight attendants and flight safety personnel” had refused to fly on certain Cubana planes, over the years.
Witnesses of the crash recalled seeing the airplane hit electrical wires and fall to the ground after attempting to return to the point of origin. Mexico's National Civil Aviation Authority is scheduled to carry out an audit of Damojh airlines' operations.
The Cuban Government announced two days of mourning for the family members of the victims.
Cuban authorities are currently investigating the cause of the crash, along with the help of the government of Mexico, and Boeing officials. Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel offered condolences to the families of the victims and also visited the scene of the accident in the Havana suburb.
According to the Cuban Council of Churches, 20 members of the Nazarene Church in Holguín died in the crash.
Cuba's transport minister released the names of the victims who included 99 Cubans, six Mexican crew members, one Mexican tourist, an Argentine couple and two African nationals. The minister also disclosed that there were five children were among the victims.