Filed at 7:39 p.m. ET
GUATEMALA CITY (Reuters) - A Cubana airlines flight with 314 people on board skidded off the runway at the Guatemala City airport and into a neighborhood on Tuesday, killing at least 14 people and injuring 45, officials said.
The French-owned DC-10 plane chartered by the Cuban national airline Cubana de Aviacion slid into houses beyond the end of the runway after the pilot miscalculated the landing shortly after 10 a.m., Peter Zimeri, director of Guatemala's Civil Aviation, told Reuters.
``Up until now the official figure is 14 dead,'' Zimeri told Reuters. Earlier, he had put a preliminary death toll at six.
There were 296 passengers and 18 crew members on the aircraft, according to the Civil Aeronautics Institute of Cuba.
Emergency workers said they would keep searching for more victims in the wreckage of the plane, which was carrying 240 Guatemalan students attending Cuba's Latin American Medical School and other Cuban universities.
Jorge Villavicencio, director of Guatemala City's Roosevelt Hospital, told Reuters a 12-year-old boy and two women had been killed on the ground, in the poor La Libertad neighborhood.
Zimeri did not identify the dead but Guatemala's Radio Sonora said that pilot Cecilio Hernandez had been killed.
A Reuters correspondent on the scene said the plane crushed five houses after it shot off the runway and down a grassy slope. The crash severed the plane's cockpit and the first-class area from the rest of the plane, he said.
Guatemala City's international airport is at the edge of a plateau, with the La Libertad neighborhood lying slightly below the level of the airport, at the end of the runway.
Emergency workers pulled bloody survivors from the wreckage as shocked neighbors wept nearby. Clothes and shoes from burst suitcases were scattered throughout the area.
One of the students on the plane, Carlos Flores, said the aircraft landed without any problem but then was unable to stop.
``We landed and then there was like a vacuum. The plane started to slide off and we fell into a small ravine,'' said Flores, the president of a student group from the Latin American Medical School.
Another student who was on board told Radio Sonora no students were injured. ``Thank God all the students are fine. We were coming home for Christmas,'' said Maria Carina.
But Julio Adan, a neighbor who helped emergency workers in the rescue, said he pulled three wounded girls from the wreckage.
``We knew something like this was going to happen sometime. It's something we are always thinking about: that a plane is going to fall on top of us,'' Adan told Reuters.
The neighborhood has been hit before. On April 28,1995, a DC-8 cargo plane overshot the runway and smashed into a house in La Libertad, killing six people.
And in April 1993, a TACA Airlines Boeing 767 jet ran off a rain-slicked runway at the same airport and crashed into nearby houses, but there were no serious injuries.
Cubana de Aviacion began flying between Havana and Guatemala City in June with three weekly round-trip flights.
Cubana's last major accident was in August 1998, when 81 people in Ecuador were killed in a crash blamed on human error. In that accident, the Russian-made Tupolev 154M careened off the runway and exploded while attempting takeoff from Quito airport.