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It was already Cuba’s deadliest aviation disasters in almost three decades, but last night the death toll from last Friday’s crash increased to 111 after one of the only three initial survivors died from her injuries.
Grettel Landrove, a 23-year-old flamenco dancer and student engineer, passed away in a Havana hospital from severe traumatic lesions, according to Cuban state media.
Two other Cuban women who survived the crash – Mailen Diaz, 19, and Emiley Sanchez, 39 – remain in critical condition due to burns and other trauma, with a high risk of complications, media reports said.
They were among 113 people on a plane which crashed shortly after takeoff from Havana’s Jose Marti International Airport on a domestic flight to the eastern Cuban city of Holguin. The aircraft, a Boeing 737, had been leased to Cuba’s flagship carrier, Cubana, by Mexican company Damojh.
A probe into the cause of the crash is being led by Cuban authorities, with assistance from Mexican and United States investigators.
On the same day Landrove died became the 100th Cuban to die on the plane – seven Mexicans, two Argentinians and two residents of the disputed Western Sahara also died in the crash – Mexico’s civil air authority temporarily suspended Damojh’s operations.
It’s not the first time Damjoh’s operations have been placed under scrutiny. Operations were halted for about a month in 2010 after a Damojh plane made an emergency landing in the Mexican beach resort of Puerto Vallarta due to a problem with its landing gear. Then, in 2013, a probe was conducted after a complaint made by a former Damojh pilot.
Last Friday’s crash was the worst in Cuba since a Soviet-built passenger plane came down near Havana in 1989, killing all 126 people on board and 14 others on the ground.