Investigators sifted through the charred remains of a Cuban airliner that plowed into a soccer field, searching Sunday for clues to the disaster that killed 79 people, including five children playing on the ground.
The Tupolev 154 aircraft owned by Cubana de Aviacion burst into flames Saturday during takeoff, clipping through two homes and an auto mechanic's shop before slamming into the field 200 yards from a runway at Quito's Mariscal Sucre International Airport.The plane, en route first to the coastal city of Guayaquil before continuing on to Havana, was carrying 76 passengers and 14 crew members, said Gen. Osvaldo Dominguez, director of the Civil Aviation Office. At least 21 passengers reportedly survived the crash.
Rescue workers found another charred body Sunday, bringing the death toll to 79. At least 10 people on the ground were killed.
Survivors said they heard loud noises before the crash, and Dominguez said it appeared that one of the engines stalled before the crash.
Police cordoned off the crash site while investigators searched for the plane's black box and a local resident missing since the crash. It was not immediately clear if the body found Sunday was that of the missing neighbor.
Firefighters sprayed jets of water onto the smoldering ruins, hoping to prevent further explosions. Though part of the fuselage remained intact, the plane's nose and front section were destroyed.
The jet barely missed a heavily traveled avenue at the end of the airport runway in a middle-class residential neighborhood high in the Andes.