Mexico plane carrying 103 people crashes in stormy weather - but everyone survives

Andy Wells
Freelance Writer

Every person on board a Mexican plane that crashed after taking off in a blustery story managed to escape before fire engulfed the aircraft.

The Aeromexico jetliner smashed down into a field in Durango state after a gust of wind hit flight AM2431 as it took off from Mexico City.

The pilot of the plant was forced to abort take-off just as the plane left the tarmac.

Passengers said they heard a loud noise as the plane’s left wing banged to the ground, and both engines tore loose.

However, the plane stayed upright and the escape slides activated.

Red Cross workers and rescue workers carry an injured person on a stretcher as airline workers walk away from the crash site (AP)

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

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.’

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Survivors said the Embraer 190 plane smashed down into a nearby field but skidded to a stop virtually intact before bursting into flames.

Jaquelin Flores told El Sol: ‘We felt the flames coming quickly… there was a lot of smoke.’

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.

The Aeromexico jetliner smashed down into a field in Durango state (AP)

Durango state governor Jose Aispuro said it was too soon to speculate on the cause of the crash.

Mechanical failure and human error are said to be possible factors, while strong wind and heavy rain with marble-sized hail lashed Durango city, even damaging hangars at the airport.

Mr Aispuro said: ‘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.’

After the accident, several passengers walked away from the plane before first responders arrived.

After the accident, several passengers walked away from the plane before first responders arrived (AP)

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.

Officials said 49 people had been taken to hospital – most with minor injuries. The pilot suffered the most serious injury, a cervical lesion that required surgery.

Durango state Health Ministry spokesman Fernando Ros said some people had burns on a quarter of their bodies. 

Mr 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.

Officials said 49 people had been taken to hospital – most with minor injuries (AP)

He said: ‘Our heart is with those affected and their families.’

Mr 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.