Mexican plane crashes at airport, 85 injured, no death, say officials

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Embraer 190 aircraft crashed around 4pm local time (21:00 GMT) with 97 passengers and four crew members on board
Embraer 190 aircraft crashed around 4pm local time (21:00 GMT) with 97 passengers and four crew members on board

New Delhi : Close to 85 people suffered injuries after an Aeromexico flight crashed on takeoff during a heavy hail storm in northern Mexico, surrounding the plane in flames, officials said.

The Embraer 190 aircraft, which was operating between Durango and Mexico City, crashed around 4pm local time (21:00 GMT), "with 97 passengers and four crew members on board," according to Mexico's transport minister Gerardo Ruiz Esparza.

"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 happened yesterday.

"Approximately 85 people are injured," Durango's civil defense spokesman Alejandro Cardoza told the Milenio television channel, adding there are some "serious injuries" but the majority are "very light".

Injured passengers were seen leaving the plane, which was surrounded in gray smoke in a field.

Forty-nine were admitted to the hospital while the lightly injured people were allowed to go home.

"The fire started after the emergency landing" but "fortunately no one suffered burns," said Cardoza.

"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.

With the plane landing in the middle of some bushes and brush, Flores said luggage began sliding down the aisle and she started to smell smoke.

"I undid my seat belt and saw flames, and realized we had to jump. There was a hole right next to us and the plane had broken up, I told my girl 'We have to jump over here' and we jumped," she added.

It has been informed that passengers helped each other quickly vacate the aircraft through the openings in the cabin caused by the accident.