STOCK MARKET BSE NSE

Mexico airliner crashes and burns, but all aboard survive

Gov. Jose Aispuro, who had initially reported there were no deaths but later said authorities were searching the charred Embraer 190 to make sure, announced late Tuesday that "no person has died."

Published: 01st August 2018 07:51 AM  |   Last Updated: 01st August 2018 02:03 PM   |  A+A-

The jetliner crashed while taking off during a severe storm, smacking down in a field nearly intact then catching fire, and officials said it appeared everyone on board escaped the flames. | AP

By Associated Press

MEXICO CITY: An Aeromexico jetliner taking off in a blustery storm smashed down into a nearby field but skidded to a stop virtually intact, and all 103 people aboard were able to escape advancing flames before fire engulfed the aircraft.

Passengers expressed gratitude to be alive, but many were extremely shaken after the crash Tuesday afternoon.

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

Survivors said the Embraer 190 plane burst into flames right after it hit the ground.

"We felt the flames coming quickly ... there was a lot of smoke," Jaquelin Flores told the newspaper El Sol.

Red Cross workers and rescue workers carry an injured person on a stretcher, right, as airline workers, left, walk away from the site where an Aeromexico airliner crashed in a field near the airport in Durango, Mexico.
(Photo | AP)

Romulo Campuzano, head of a political party in Durango state who was on the plane, told Foro TV that both wings were on fire as he bolted from the aircraft.

ALSO READ | 12 critically injured in Mexico's Aeromexico plane crash

Durango state Gov. Jose Aispuro said a gust of wind hit flight AM2431 heading from the city of Durango to Mexico City just as it was lifting off the tarmac, forcing the pilot to abort takeoff.

Passengers said they heard a loud noise as the plane's left wing banged to the ground, and both engines tore loose. The plane stayed upright, though, and the escape slides activated.

Aispuro said it was too soon to speculate on the cause of the crash. Mechanical failure and human error could be factors, but certainly the weather wasn't favorable. Strong wind and heavy rain with marble-sized hail lashed Durango city, even damaging hangars at the airport.

"The most important thing in the seriousness that is an accident of this nature is that there were no deaths — that's what is most encouraging for us," Aispuro said at a news conference.

After the accident, several passengers walked away from the plane before first responders arrived. Some sought medical help, while others rushed home to loved ones. Officials spent much of the afternoon tracking down survivors to ensure that everyone was accounted for.

Red Cross workers and rescue workers carry an injured person on a stretcher, right, as airline workers, left, walk away from the site where an Aeromexico airliner crashed in a field near the airport in Durango, Mexico.
(Photo | AP)

Officials said 49 people had been hospitalized — most with minor injuries. The pilot suffered the most serious injury, a cervical lesion that required surgery. Some people had burns on a quarter of their bodies, said Durango state Health Ministry spokesman Fernando Ros.

Aispuro said all were expected to live.

Aeromexico Chief Executive Officer Andres Conesa described the day as "very difficult" and credited the timely reaction of crew and passengers for the lack of fatalities.

"Our heart is with those affected and their families," he said at an evening news conference.

Conesa said the passengers included 88 adults, nine children and two babies and the crew consisted of two flight attendants and two pilots.

He said the jetliner had been sent for maintenance in February and the crew was well-rested, having started their work day in Durango.

The web site Planespotters.net said the Brazilian-made medium-range jet was about 10 years old and had seen service with two other airlines before joining the Aeromexico fleet.

Operations were suspended at Durango city's Guadalupe Victoria airport after the crash.

Stay up to date on all the latest World news with The New Indian Express App. Download now

Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp