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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Havana: Pilots Flew Over Border

HAVANA -- Cuba has shown what officials here say is evidence that two civilian planes shot down by their jet fighters last weekend had invaded Cuban air space.


Flight plans, a black bag and a battery charger that Cuban officials say are refuse from the planes and were found 14 kilometers from the Cuban coast were displayed Sunday on a state newscast.


Officials have repeatedly said they had in their possession objects from the planes that would prove that they were in Cuban territory, rather than international waters as the U.S. government stated in condemning the shooting.


Where the planes were shot down has become a major point of contention as the United States and Cuba argue over who was responsible for the deaths of four pilots from the Brothers to the Rescue exile organization.


On Saturday, Cuban exiles defied dangerous waters, fought off seasickness and flew into thunderstorms before cutting short a memorial service at sea for the four downed pilots.


Escorted by 11 U.S. Coast Guard cutters, a flotilla of 35 boats left Key West early Saturday and lurched into waves whipped up to three meters by high winds blowing across the Florida Straits. By early afternoon, 21 boats had turned back.


The rough seas prevented the 14 remaining boats from reaching the spot 34 kilometers northwest of Havana where two exile planes were believed to have crashed after they were blasted out of the sky by Cuban MiG jets Feb. 24.








But the boats held the planned memorial service 70 kilometers south of Key West. Exiles dropped flowers and wreaths into the churning sea and sang the Cuban national anthem. They shouted "Viva Cuba libre," or "Long live a free Cuba," and then headed back to Florida.


More than a dozen planes took off two hours late and flew over the straits to the spot where the planes were shot down. The planes circled around a smoke buoy, dropping funeral wreaths and red, white and blue carnations.