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Cuba Confirms At Least Eight Killed In Crash Of Military Plane

The Cuban soldiers had been traveling in a Soviet-era An-26 plane. (file photo)

The Cuban government says a Cuban military plane has crashed in a western part of the island nation, and at least eight troops were killed, confirming earlier news reports.

A statement released by the government said the Soviet-era An-26 took off early on April 29 from an airport near Havana and crashed not long after in a hillside about 40 miles away.

The military said a special commission would investigate the crash. Reports said the weather was clear and sunny at the time.

No information was released on how many passengers may have been on the plane, which is capable of carrying up to 40 people.

A person briefed on the situation told the Associated Press that the plane belongs to Aerogaviota, an airline run by the Cuban military.

It serves the government, state-run tourism companies, and the Cuban national oil company.

Cuba's armed forces have struggled with funding and maintenance for equipment in the years following the Soviet collapse, when Moscow's financial support for the communist nation dried up.

Most planes flown in Cuba were produced in the Soviet Union. The AN-26 planes were produced by Antonov in Kyiv between 1969 and 1986.

Based on reporting by AP, Reuters, AFP