Cuba tourist tragedy plane 'was unfit to fly'

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The Independent US

When childhood friends Paul Fuller and Lorellei Ross married in Cuba on Monday they thought they had left the tragedy in their lives behind them. But three days later both were dead, after an internal holiday flight crashed on its return to their luxury resort.

Two other Britons among the dead, Shaun and Angela Lawrence, from Doncaster, had been witnesses at the wedding. The Fullers, from Kent, were killed along with 14 other people when the plane in which they had travelled to Cienfeugos on the country's south coast crashed on the return flight north. The aging Antonov AN-2, run by the state airline Aerotaxi, went down near the city of Santa Clara, about 160 miles east of Havana. Witnesses spoke of seeing parts falling from the plane when it went down.

Two Germans, six Canadians and four Cubans, understood to be the pilot, crew and tour leader, also died.

As the authorities probed the cause of the crash, Paul's father Peter Fuller yesterday called for a thorough investigation. "I have been told the plane's chassis was coming away from the fuselage," he said. "If that is true then why was it allowed to fly?"

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