Aeromexico Plane Crashes in Mexico, but Officials Say Everyone Survived

Rescue workers and firefighters after an Aeromexico plane crashed near the airport in Durango on Tuesday.CreditProteccion Civil Durango, via Reuters

By Kirk Semple and Paulina Villegas

MEXICO CITY — An Aeromexico jetliner carrying 103 people crashed in stormy weather shortly after takeoff on Tuesday in Mexico’s north-central state of Durango, according to Mexican officials. But in what appeared to be a remarkable survival story, the authorities said none of the occupants had been killed.

The Mexican airline said on its Twitter account that Flight 2431, an Embraer ERJ-190AR jet, had been scheduled to fly from the General Guadalupe Victoria International Airport in the city of Durango to Mexico City. The 550-mile flight takes about two hours.

The plane, carrying 99 passengers and four crew members, crashed after departing the airport around 4 p.m., Secretary of Communications and Transportation Gerardo Ruiz Esparza said on Twitter. Aeromexico updated the passenger count late Tuesday to include two infants.

At least 80 of the plane’s occupants were treated at hospitals, Alejandro Cardoza, a spokesman for the state Civil Protection Agency said. One person, the plane’s captain, was in critical condition Tuesday night and was undergoing surgery for a spinal injury, officials said.

Andrés Conesa, the chief executive of Aeromexico, said at a news conference that the captain’s injuries were not believed to be life-threatening.

The governor of Durango State, José R. Aispuro, told Foro TV that the plane had departed during a storm and that the pilots might have “wanted to abort” the takeoff.

Mexican news media reported that the aircraft hit the ground nose-first, a few hundred yards from the end of the runway, and that many of the passengers were able to clamber out of the plane on their own.

Emergency personnel helping a passenger in Durango on Tuesday.CreditCivil Protection State Coordination, via EPA/Shutterstock

Rómulo Campuzano, a passenger, told Foro TV that he felt “two very large impacts” and that the plane started “shaking in a violent way” before coming to a stop amid some vegetation beyond the end of the runway. He walked off the plane through the main door, he said.

Emergency vehicles and fire trucks arrived within five minutes of the crash, said Mr. Campuzano, who is the general secretary in Durango for Mexico’s National Action Party.

Another passenger told Foro that the plane took off in a driving rainstorm but started falling soon after. Upon impact, she said, suitcases tumbled from the overhead bins and smoke filled the cabin. Some passengers unbuckled themselves from their seats and jumped out through a hole near the wing, said the woman, who was not identified.

Photos posted to social media by the Durango branch of the country’s Civil Protection Agency showed thick black smoke rising from the body of the severely damaged plane.


The wreckage of a plane that crashed not long after taking off in Durango on Tuesday.CreditKevin Alcantar Drones Durango/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The cause of the crash was not immediately known. OMA, the company that operates the Durango airport, as well as 12 other international airports in north-central Mexico, said in a Twitter post that preliminary information indicated that the crash was “due to adverse weather conditions.”

Mr. Conesa of Aeromexico said an investigation into the cause was underway.

The Brazilian-made Embraer plane was about 10 years old and had been used by two other airlines, according to the aviation website Planespotters. Aeromexico has used the plane for four years, and Mr. Conesa said it had been “perfectly maintained” by the airline.

Aeromexico is considered one of the world’s safer airlines. Airlineratings, a website that keeps track of airline performance, has given Aeromexico a top safety rating.

But the airline has not been free of serious or fatal accidents. In August 1986, an Aeromexico flight approaching Los Angeles International Airport from Mexico crashed, killing 64 people on board, 15 people on the ground and three in a smaller aircraft that collided with the airplane. In 1981, an Aeromexico jet steered off a runway and burst into flames as it was landing in Chihuahua in northern Mexico, killing 36 people.

“We deeply regret this accident,” Aeromexico said in a statement on Tuesday. “The families of all those affected are in our thoughts and in our hearts.”

Reporting was contributed by Megan Specia, Josh Keller, Rick Gladstone and Satoshi Sugiyama from New York.

A version of this article appears in print on , on Page A6 of the New York edition with the headline: Airplane Crashes in Mexico, and All 103 People Aboard Survive, Officials Say. Order Reprints | Today’s Paper | Subscribe

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