Plane Crash Kills 69
By The Associated Press
(AP) -- A Cuban commercial airplane burst into flames
and crashed during takeoff Saturday in Ecuador, killing at least 69 people,
the Russian-made Tupolev aircraft owned by Cubana de
Aviacion lost altitude and clipped the top of an auto mechanic's shop
beyond the end of the runway at the Quito international airport before
plowing into a soccer field.
The plane was
heading to Guayaquil, on the Ecuadorean coast, and then
on to Havana.
said there were 76 passengers and six crew members on
board. They did not say what caused the crash or provide the nationalities
of the passengers.
head of emergency operations for the Civil Aviation
Office, said at least 69 people were killed in the crash but did not specify
if that included anyone killed on the ground.
A local radio
station reported that four people died when the plane struck
the mechanic's shop, but that could not be confirmed.
be many dead, but there are also survivors. I pulled one
person out alive,'' said civil defense volunteer Hugo Albuja.
Channel 10 television
interviewed Cuban survivor Hernan Boada, 27,
who suffered a broken ankle.
``Before we heard
the roar of the crash, we felt the plane rise a bit and
burst in flames. There were three explosions,'' Boada said. ``I saw other
people wrapped in flames jump from the plane.''
Boada said that
``people nearby, in a soccer field, helped me get away
from the plane fearing explosions.''