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Passengers recall horror of Aeromexico plane crash as video emerges

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PASSENGERS aboard a flight that crashed after takeoff in northern Mexico said a strong burst of wind and hail forced the Aeromexico jetliner to the ground, where there were only moments to evacuate before it burst into flame.

Frightened passengers scrambled to flee when flames and blinding black smoke engulfed them.

Video has now emerged of the terrifying moment the plane plummeted into a field.

Alberto Herrera, a 35-year-old web page engineer from Chicago, described the terrifying moments when the plane briefly became airborne before smacking belly-down onto a field beyond the edge of the runway.

“You start gaining speed and as soon as you start taking off all of the sudden the plane starts struggling and it’s getting hit with hail,” said Herrera, who was visiting the city of Durango for the baptism of his cousin’s baby.

“The higher up we went into the storm the heavier the hail got and more wind got to us.

“Then all of a sudden the plane starts rocking and it starts seriously, seriously moving around and then hitting the ground.”

The fire around the wings eliminated the possibility of using wing exits, so Herrera said he moved toward a back exit and started helping other people leave the craft.

Many walked to the end of the runway to wait for emergency vehicles.

Jose Luis Corral, a 52-year-old business owner from Portland, Oregon, said: “It’s a good thing we’re all alive.”

“It’s so fast, terrifying to see all the people screaming,” added Corral, who was one of four people who helped the plane’s badly injured pilot escape the blaze.

Durango state Governor Jose Aispuro said all 99 passengers and four crew members made it off the plane, but the pilot was severely injured.

About 49 people were hospitalised with injuries.

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

Governor Aispuro said it was too soon to speculate on the cause of the crash. Mechanical failure and human error could be at fault, but the weather is believed to be the main factor.

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.

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