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42 Anniversary: Cubana DC-8 Explodes Mid-Air

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42 Anniversary: Cubana DC-8 Explodes Mid-Air

42 Anniversary: Cubana DC-8 Explodes Mid-Air
October 19
08:31 2018

MIAMI — On October 6, 1976, a Cubana de Aviacion Douglas DC-8 exploded mid-air minutes after departing Barbados, killing everyone onboard.

It was Wednesday, October 6, at 17:00 when a Douglas DC-8 from Cubana de Aviación (CU-T1201, ex-CF-DJI MSN 45611), manufactured in the United States, took off from Sir Grantley Adams International Airport in Barbados headed to Jamaica.

About nine minutes after departing the airport, two bombs filled with C-4 explosives exploded. One bomb was located in the plane’s rear lavatory, whereas the second was located in the middle of the cabin.

C-4 is one of the most powerful explosives known to date. When exploding, it reaches a high-temperature and detonation speeds of 8040 m/sec.

According to several recollections of the accident, the DC-8 went into a rapid descent. The Captain radioed, “We have an explosion aboard, we are descending immediately! We have a fire on board! We are requesting an immediate landing! We have a total emergency!”

However, the damage caused by the blast crippled the airplane’s ability to fly, forcing it to crash about five miles from the airport.

There were no survivors.

According to the investigation, one bomb that was hidden in the central portion of the cabin cracked a hole in the plane’s fuselage and started a fire.

The other bomb in the rear lavatory, crippled the plane’s control cables, hindering the pilot’s possibilities of flying the plane back to the airport.

This accident claimed the lives of 57 Cubans, 11 Guyanese, and five officials of the North Korean government.

Among the deceased were 24 players of the Cuban youth fencing team, who returned to their homeland after having won all the gold medals in the Central American and Caribbean Championship, held in Caracas, Venezuela.

On the plane was also the Director of the National Institute of Sports, the Secretary of the Committee of the Communist Party for the shrimp fishing fleet and the agency of the Ministry of the Interior.

The North Koreans who perished on the crash were part of Kim Il-sung’s government.

A few hours after the terrorist attach, Trinidad authorities arrested two Venezuelan men who had boarded the plane, left their checked bags inside, and deplaned before the explosion.

The two men confessed that they were acting under the orders a CIA operative.


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A Global Review of Commercial Flight since 1994: the leading Commercial Aviation publication in North America and 35 nations worldwide. Based in Miami, Florida.

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