A passenger plane has crashed in the capital of Mexico’s Durango state, just moments after take-off.

All 103 passengers and crew on board the Aeroméxico flight survived the crash but 97 of them are injured.

State Governor José Rosas Aispuro said the plane was hit by a gust of wind, which caused a sudden descent. Its left wing then touched the ground and two engines came off.

Most of the passengers were able to walk away before it caught fire.

Aeroméxico flight AM2431 was flying from Guadalupe Victoria International Airport in Durango to Mexico City when it crashed at around 16:00 local time (21:00 GMT).

Initial reports spoke of 97 passengers and four crew, but Governor Rosas said that two children were also on board – bringing the total to 103.

The plane’s pilot is one of two who were seriously injured. He needed an operation on his spine but is reportedly in a stable condition. A young girl sustained burns.

Ninety-seven other people were taken to hospital but most had only “very light” injuries, officials said.

‘We have to jump’

Passenger Jacqueline Flores described the moment she knew something was wrong.

“When we were already aloft, up high, it felt like the plane was going to level out but just then it plunged to the ground,” she told the AFP news agency.

A handout photo made available by the Civil Protection State Coordination (CPCE) shows emergency personnel at the site where an Aeromexico plane crashed, in Durango, Mexico, 31 July 2018.Image copyrightEPA
Image captionThe fire spread through the aircraft after the crash

“I think we fell back on the runway because it was a hard surface, then we skidded on the ground until it stopped,” the 47-year-old said.

“I undid my seatbelt and saw flames, and realised we had to jump. There was a hole right next to us where the plane had broken up. I told my girl, ‘We have to jump over here’, and we jumped,” she added.

A local politician on board the flight, Rómulo Campuzano, said he had been “very lucky because I was able to get out by the main door”. He said the door had been torn off and was lying next to the plane “acting as a ramp”.

“I walked away from the plane, turning around to see if the other passengers were getting out, too. It started raining very hard and I think that helped put out the flames,” he said.

Safe evacuation

Governor Rosas said the crew were able to deploy the evacuation slides shortly after the crash, allowing those still on board to leave the plane safely before the flames spread.

Picture released by Contacto Hoy showing a man (C) being rushed into a vehicle at the airport of Durango, in northern Mexico, after a plane carrying 97 passengers and four crew crashed on take off near the city"s airport on July 31, 2018.Image copyrightAFP
Image captionMost of the injured were released quickly and able to get home with a little help

The airline Aeroméxico has a good safety record, according to local media. Its last deadly accident was in 1981, when 32 people were killed when an Aeroméxico plane crashed on landing in northern Chihuahua state.

The airport operator, Grupo Aeroportuario Centro Norte, said early data suggested bad weather was the cause, and that the plane had taken off during a heavy hailstorm before being forced to attempt an emergency landing.

One passenger said the plane had been hit by lightning.

Drone footage of the crash site in Durango 31 July 2018Image copyrightAFP/KEVIN ALCANTAR DRONES DURANGO
Image captionThe plane crashed shortly after take-off

In a statement, Aeroméxico said they “deeply regret” the accident, while Brazilian plane company Embraer said they had sent a team to the crash site.


BBC