97 injured as plane crashes after takeoff in hail storm

By AFP |August 01,2018 - 09:51 PM

An image taken using a drone and obtained by AFP shows the aircraft immobilized in a field at the end of the runway.
/AFP

An Aeromexico flight crashed on takeoff during a heavy hail storm in northern Mexico, engulfing the plane in flames and injuring 97 people, officials said Tuesday.

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

“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 percent of her body, the governor said.

A total of 97 people were admitted for treatment following the crash, most of them for “very light” injuries, according to Durango civil defense spokesman Alejandro Cardoza.

Cardoza said the plane was caught in a heavy hailstorm and the pilots tried to make an emergency landing, after which the fire broke out.

Conesa thanked the crew “for their professionalism” and said that the aircraft “was perfectly maintained,” but did not provide details on the circumstances of the accident.
Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer announced the dispatch of a team to investigate the crash.

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

‘We had to jump’

An image taken using a drone and obtained by AFP shows the aircraft immobilized in a field at the end of the runway.

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

“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.

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