By Court Sullivan

BARACOA, Cuba – A passenger missile exploded yesterday half a mile above the village of Baracoa. International flight #BM47JHS35591IRQ departed the small, oppressed town at 4:00AM and was expected to arrive in Miami at about 4:26AM. All 72 passengers aboard were killed.

Early reports indicate that the passengers had strapped themselves lying face-down against the 90-foot missile with homemade seatbelts. Six people were found to have not pulled their seatbelt tight enough prior to liftoff.

Above: Outdated H-47 long-range launcher [shown here equipped with optional sport package]

“Preliminary investigation has determined that there was no pilot involved, only compressed explosives with isostatic emissions capable of destroying small tanks and light artillery,” Cuban police chief Elizardo Sanchez said. “It appears these people might have been discouraged by the lengthy, pre-boarding process at normal airports since September 11th, and just decided to pursue a faster mode of transportation. But not tightening your seatbelt before liftoff…I just don't understand. Except for that one guy who got up to use the restroom.”

After pooling together enough money to place a secure, online order for a Soviet-made passenger missile assembled crudely in Iraq, the Baracoan community borrowed an outdated launcher from a subversive group of high-ranking Cuban military officials. These officials have yet to be positively identified.

The Cuban government released a statement saying, “Our policy has always been very simple when frustrated citizens attempt to borrow heavy equipment for non-combat purposes: put it back when you're done, and use only designated launching ranges. These officials should have known that. Period.”

Most people on board the flight were middle-age peasants looking for a new home for their families in America.

Rene Gomez Manzano, a local resident and friend of 31-year-old passenger Jose Maria Azna, expressed disbelief after the tragedy. “He had always talked about joing up with the rest of his family in Miami. I told him, ‘Let's take the 5:30AM raft off the coast of [town name withheld by request]' but he was just like, ‘Rene, I refuse to drown like the rest of them.' That was the last thing he told me before he was blown up.”

So far, one arrest has been made in connection with the explosion. Alberto Betan, the man who apparently “pressed fire,” has been charged with “failure to return military equipment.” In addition to the continually accumulating $5,000 per day late fee charged to his community, Betan faces a possible sentence of “life in Cuba without the possibility of escape.”

Ernesto Torres, a friend and neighbor of Betan, said, “Alberto tried to rally the whole village to help move the launcher back to the warehouse, but it was just too heavy.” After a moment of reflection, Torres added, “We'll really miss those 72 people.”

President Fidel Castro spoke on behalf of the Cuban Aviation Commission saying, “I expect this should be a lesson to other citizens rolling down their sleeves and stuffing things up them. The Cuban government and I have made it illegal to travel out of the country and between municipalities purely for the safety and well-being of our citizens. Surely this is apparent here.”

The Cuban Aviation Commission tried to comment, but was quickly stifled by several burly-looking uniformed men with cigars and handguns.

“Passenger missiles are a very dangerous liability in the hands of poorly-trained peasants lacking precise flight coordinates and laser-guided tracking technology supplied by the former Soviet Union,” Castro continued. “These missiles could accidentally explode at any time during flight. This is the main reason we have stopped using them for any kind of transportation.” Castro then added, “Remember the Cuban Missile Crisis?”

See new PIC posts via Twitter or Facebook.

Sign up for satire writing or improv classes at The Second City - 10% off with code PIC.