All 68 people on board an Aero Caribbean plane, a state owned regional airline, were killed when it crashed in mountainous central Cuba on Thursday after issuing an emergency call, a Cuban government website said on Friday.
"There were no survivors in airline accident," www.cubadebate.cu said in a headline that topped a list of the passengers and crew on the ill-fated plane.
The Civil Aeronautics Agency said there were 40 Cubans on board, including seven crew members, and 28 foreigners. The foreigners came from 10 countries.
A photograph on the website showed flames rising from the shattered remains of the plane - an ATR-72-212 twin turboprop built by ATR, a joint venture of Europe's EADS and Italian group Finmeccanica.
Rescuers began pulling bodies from the wreckage after using a bulldozer to plow through thick vegetation to reach the crash site near the town of Guasimal in Sancti Spiritus province, state-run media said.
Witnesses said the plane made "several brusque movements before falling to the ground," the newspaper Escambray reported in its online edition.
The plane, Flight 883, left Santiago de Cuba in eastern Cuba en route to Havana and went down at 5:42 p.m. local time. After making an emergency call, the plane lost contact with air traffic controllers.
Medical facilities in the area, about 210 miles southeast of Havana, were put on alert to prepare for emergency patients. But by midnight they were told to stand down because no survivors were expected.
"There's nothing more here. They've deactivated the clinic already because, in reality, there are no survivors," said an employee at Camilo Cienfuegos Hospital in Guasimal.
The death toll of 68 people made Thursday's air crash the worst in Cuba since September 3, 1989, when a Soviet-made Ilyushin-62M plane crashed after taking off from Havana airport en route to Italy, killing all 126 people on board.