All survive crash of Mexican jetliner, some walk from wreck

<p>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...</p>

News 12 Staff

Aug 1, 2018, 4:10 PM

Updated 2,117 days ago

Share:

By CHRISTOPHER SHERMAN
Associated Press
DURANGO, Mexico (AP) - Passengers and officials say a strong burst of wind hit an Aeromexico jetliner on takeoff, moments before it crashed, leaving those aboard with mere minutes to evacuate the burning plane.
The plane tried to take off from Durango city in a severe storm Tuesday, but smacked down on its belly in a nearby field. With the engines torn off, it began to burn.
"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.
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.
Durango state Gov. Jose Aispuro said a gust of wind hit flight AM2431, which was heading 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.
All 99 passengers and four crewmembers made it off the plane, but the pilot was severely injured.
About 49 people were hospitalized with injuries. 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.
An Illinois priest was on the plane. The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago said the Rev. Esequiel Sanchez suffered some injuries, but was alert and resting.
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.
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.
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.
Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


More from News 12
0:15
Superintendent: Swastika found on classroom desk at Harborfields High School

Superintendent: Swastika found on classroom desk at Harborfields High School

2:02
Mostly cloudy skies and dry conditions on Long Island

Mostly cloudy skies and dry conditions on Long Island

0:39
Police: Man injured in Wyandanch shooting; suspect at large

Police: Man injured in Wyandanch shooting; suspect at large

1:59
Greenlawn teen arrested, accused of making ‘threat of mass harm’ at Oldfield Middle School

Greenlawn teen arrested, accused of making ‘threat of mass harm’ at Oldfield Middle School

0:51
Vet Fest in Farmingdale aims to support, encourage veterans who need help

Vet Fest in Farmingdale aims to support, encourage veterans who need help

0:17
Authorities: George Washington Bridge climber in custody

Authorities: George Washington Bridge climber in custody

0:32
Police: 3 people arrested during State Liquor Authority compliance check at Huntington Station deli

Police: 3 people arrested during State Liquor Authority compliance check at Huntington Station deli

2:28
How did a Nassau County doctor overprescribe highly addictive pain pills, despite strict laws in place?

How did a Nassau County doctor overprescribe highly addictive pain pills, despite strict laws in place?

1:43
CDC urges people to get vaccinated amid resurgence of mpox

CDC urges people to get vaccinated amid resurgence of mpox

1:46
Hit-and-run on South Oyster Bay Rd. in Plainview leaves woman with concussion, 6 staples in head

Hit-and-run on South Oyster Bay Rd. in Plainview leaves woman with concussion, 6 staples in head

0:26
Principal: Student approached by van full of men in ski masks in Selden

Principal: Student approached by van full of men in ski masks in Selden

1:39
Montauk Music Festival rocks the East End

Montauk Music Festival rocks the East End

2:06
Homeowners asked to check home security video after string of Nassau County break-ins

Homeowners asked to check home security video after string of Nassau County break-ins

0:24
Police: Hempstead man exposed, touched himself inappropriately at Roosevelt Field Mall

Police: Hempstead man exposed, touched himself inappropriately at Roosevelt Field Mall

0:51
Plainview-Old Bethpage hosts basketball team from Israel impacted by Oct. 7 attacks

Plainview-Old Bethpage hosts basketball team from Israel impacted by Oct. 7 attacks

1:24
Nassau County high school seniors take part in aerial simulation exercise

Nassau County high school seniors take part in aerial simulation exercise

1:53
Toys for Tots make contribution to Promise of Hope Foundation to honor fallen Detective Jonathan Diller

Toys for Tots make contribution to Promise of Hope Foundation to honor fallen Detective Jonathan Diller

2:29
Museum of American Armor hosting 10th anniversary of World War II Encampment weekend

Museum of American Armor hosting 10th anniversary of World War II Encampment weekend

1:55
12-year-old prodigy set to become Malverne High School’s youngest graduate

12-year-old prodigy set to become Malverne High School’s youngest graduate

1:08
East End: Kick off party to the summer showcasing the beauty of the region

East End: Kick off party to the summer showcasing the beauty of the region