A passenger aircraft carrying 68 people has crashed in Cuba, on its way from the eastern city of Santiago de Cuba to Havana, the capital.

There were 40 Cubans on board the flight including the crew of seven. Twenty-eight of the passengers were foreigners, from Argentina, Mexico, Holland, Germany, Austria, France, Italy, Spain, Venezuela and Japan.

Cuba's Civil Aviation Authority issued a statement early on Friday saying there were no survivors.

AeroCaribbean flight 883 went down at 0942 GMT on Thursday near the town of Guasimal in the province of Sancti Spiritus after calling out an emergency to air traffic controllers.

The flight had set off from Port-au-Prince, Haiti, ahead of Hurricane Tomas. It crashed on the second leg of the journey.

The aircraft "fell to the ground in the region of Guacimal", according to state television.

First bodies recovered

Rescue workers were at the scene and had recovered the first bodies, according to the local state-run newspaper Escambray.

A photo posted on the paper's web site showed a large piece of the plane in flames, with rescue workers in olive-green military uniforms standing around it. It said the local Communist Party chief as well as interior ministry and other officials were at the scene helping with the rescue effort.

Source: Agencies