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The plane plunged and burnt in seconds, say Mexico crash survivors

An Aeromexico-operated Embraer jet crashed soon after takeoff in Mexico’s state of Durango, but authorities said most were not seriously hurt and there were no fatalities.

world Updated: Aug 01, 2018 20:25 IST
Drrango
Mexico plane crash,Mexico,Durango
Red Cross workers attend to passengers as they walk away from an Aeromexico jetliner that crashed near the airport in Durango, Mexico on Tuesday.(AP photo)

“I feel blessed and grateful to God,” said a passenger who survived a crash when an Aeromexico jetliner taking off in a hailstorm on Tuesday smashed down into a nearby field but skidded to a stop virtually intact. All 103 people aboard were able to escape advancing flames before fire engulfed the aircraft.

Dozens of lightly injured passengers were seen leaving the plane, which was engulfed in gray smoke in a field.

“We were on the runway when the visibility grew worse,” 47-year-old Jacqueline Flores, who was travelling with her 16-year-old daughter, said.

“When we were already aloft, up high, it felt like the plane was going to level out but just then is when it plunged to the ground. I think we fell back on the runway because it was a hard surface, then we skidded on the ground until it stopped,” added the Durango native, a housewife who was on a journey back to Colombia where she lives.

With the plane on the ground amid some bushes and brush, Flores said luggage began sliding down the aisle and she started to smell smoke.

“I undid my seatbelt and saw flames, and realized we had to jump. There was a hole right next to us and the plane had broken up, I told my girl ‘We have to jump over here’ and we jumped,” she added.

Lorenzo Nunez, a passenger from Chicago who fled the plane with his two sons and wife, said: “It was really, really ugly…It burned in a question of seconds,” he told reporters, snapping his fingers for emphasis.

The Embraer 190 aircraft, which was operating between Durango and Mexico City and crashed around 3:00 pm local time (20:00 GMT), was carrying “88 adults, nine minors, two infants, two pilots and two flight attendants,” the airline’s director general Andres Conesa said.

“It is confirmed that there have been no deaths from the flight #AM2431 accident,” tweeted Jose Rosas, the governor of Durango state where the crash occurred.

The accident did cause two series injuries: a pilot had to undergo a spinal operation, and a young girl suffered burns on 25 per cent of her body, the governor said.

According to Rosas, the passengers helped each other quickly evacuate the aircraft through the openings in the cabin caused by the accident.

In July 1981, an Aeromexico flight crashed on landing in northern Chihuahua due to bad weather, killing 32.

First Published: Aug 01, 2018 12:13 IST