by Reading Eagle | AuxBeacon News Contributor
Air Attack Charged
Castro Reports Two Americans Killed In Cuban Tragedy
Havana, Feb. 19 (AP) —
Fidel Castro demanded again last night that the United States halt the bombing of Cuban soil by Florida-based planes. He reported two Americans were killed Thursday in an air attack on a Cuban sugar mill. The bearded prime minister told a nationwide television audience the chief cause of strained American-Cuban relations is the “war” being conducted by raiding planes from the United States.
Speaking with unusual calm, he said documents taken from the wreckage proved the plane which tried to bomb the Espana sugar mill, 100 miles east of Havana, came from Florida.
Has Proof, He Says
“The United States authorities have asked us for proof,” he declared. ‘We have the proof here. Now it’s up to them to act to prove what they affirm in their documents and diplomatic notes, that they are trying to avert these acts.”
He said the documents included a U.S. passport that identified the pilot as Robert Ellis Frost. Cuban officials identified the other flier as Robert Kelly and said be was a member of the U.S. Civil Air Patrol.
(In Miami, Robert Frost of Portland, Ore., was reported overdue on a “prestunably local flight” in a light plane bearing the same registry number as the one which crashed in Cuba.
(CAP headquarters in Houston, Tex., said its records listed two Robert Kellys as members, but the families of both men said they were in the United States and were not connected in any way with the Cuban incident)
Following the crash, the U.S. Embassy quickly offered a team of technicians to assist in an investigation. Castro accepted the offer. Castro said an investigation indicated the premature explosion of a fragmentation bomb intended for the mill blew up the plane.
He said eye-witnesses reported the plane. was diving on the mill when it blew apart, sending one of the’ fliers hurtling through the roof of a nearby house and shattering the body of the other beyond recognition. He said the eyewitnesses reported seeing one of the men holding out a heavy object in his hand as the plane began its dive.
Map Reported Recovered
The prime minister said a flight map recovered from the wreckage showed the plane had two Florida bases, one 30 miles southwest of a Strategic Air Command base at Homestead. The other 79 miles northwest of the Key West Navy Base. Castro also said that some 30 raids this year had resulted in the loss of about 225,000 tons, of sugarcane.
“This is the only country in the world being victimized by such attacks,” he declared.
Castro hailed as the “most beneficial agreement ever in the nation’s history” the big trade and credit pact signed by himself and Soviet Deputy Premier Anastas Mikoyan last Saturday.