OFFICIAL VOICE OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY OF CUBA CENTRAL COMMITTEE
Armando Daniel López, president of Cuba’s Institute of Civil Aeronautics. Photo: Dunia Álvarez

Authorities at Cuba’s Institute of Civil Aeronautics (IACC) reported the causes of the unfortunate accident involving a B-737-200 aircraft, registration XA-UHZ, owned by the airline Damojh SA, chartered with its crew by Cubana de Aviación.

According to statements by Armando Daniel López, IACC president, "The investigating commission has determined, based on data from the plane’s flight recorders (black boxes), and results obtained from the characterization of the aeronautical standards for this flight, that the most probable cause of the accident were the crew’s actions and their errors in calculating weight and balance, which led to the loss of control and the aircraft plummeting to the ground during takeoff.

The IACC recognized the cooperation of the people and institutions during the investigation, as well as the National Transportation Safety Board, the United States Boeing manufacturer, and Mexico’s aeronautics authorities.

IN CONTEXT:

The tragedy cost the lives of 112 persons, including the entire crew.

All victims of the accident were identified within just eight days, by the Institute of Legal Medicine.

The identification of victims involved experts in the fields of anthropology, stomatology, dactyloscopy, trazology, and forensic biology, including DNA research, with the experts working together.

Technical forces were mobilized to recover as much evidence from the site of the accident as possible. Photo: Ricardo López Hevia

Resolutions from the Minister of Transport provided regulatory and normative documents to guide the investigation.

In addition, Annex 13 of the International Civil Aviation Organization establishes investigation methodology for accidents, including a total of 66 decisive steps that must be followed to conclude with the summary of the accident.

Additionally, the commission studied every accident on record around the world for this model of aircraft.

In the process of deciphering data from the Boeing 737 aircraft’s black boxes, 100% of the technical parameters, and almost all of voice parameters, were identified.

Mailen Díaz Almaguer, 19 years of age at the time of the accident, was the only survivor, thanks to the work of specialists at Calixto García, Hermanos Ameijeiras, and Ciren hospitals.

The rapid reaction and effectiveness of authorities, and the discipline and solidarity of the population, following the accident, which occurred at 12:08pm on Friday, May 18, 2018, in Havana, were highlighted, on the scene, by Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, President of Cuba’s Councils of State and of Ministers.

Army General Raul Castro Ruz, first secretary of the Party Central Committee, who was recovering satisfactorily from a previously scheduled surgery, stayed abreast of the situation, giving pertinent directives, and conveying condolences to relatives of the victims.

Diaz-Canel offered condolences to the families of the victims, on behalf of the national government and the Party.

During the afternoon of the same day of the accident, a government meeting was held, chaired by Díaz-Canel and Salvador Valdés Mesa, first vice president of the Councils of State and Ministers, to provide ministries and agencies involved all available information, and evaluate the situation.

After the meeting, authorities from the Ministry of Transport (Mitrans) informed the press that traveling on domestic flight DMJ 0972, Havana-Holguin, were 104 passengers and one infant, of whom five were citizens of other countries and the rest Cuban. The six crew members were also from abroad.

On the occasion of the catastrophic accident, the Council of State of the Republic of Cuba decreed an official mourning period from 6:00am on May 19 through 12:00 midnight, May 20.