Mexico Embraer crash: Behind miraculous escape for over 100 passengers, well-built craft and design changes

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New Delhi | Published: August 2, 2018 1:14:53 PM

Experts believe that passengers in plane crashes like this have better chances of survival due to better aircraft construction and safety standards.

mexico plane crash, mexico crash, plane crash in mexico, Aeromexico flight, Aeromexico flight crash, Aeromexico plane crash, Aeromexico crashIn this photo released by Red Cross Durango communications office, Red Cross workers and rescue workers carry an injured person on a stretcher, right, as airline workers, left, walk away from the site. (Red Cross Durango via AP)

An Aeromexico flight crashed on takeoff during a heavy hail storm in northern Mexico on Tuesday. The Embraer 190 aircraft, which was operating from Durango to Mexico City was carrying over 100 passengers including 88 adults, nine minors, two infants, two pilots and two flight attendants. It crashed at around 3:00 pm local time leaving 97 people injured but miraculously, no one was reported dead. “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.

He confirmed that the plane caught fire when the pilots were trying to make an emergency landing. Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer has announced the dispatch of a team to investigate the crash. The passengers reportedly helped each other quickly evacuate the aircraft through the openings in the cabin caused by the accident.

Some of the passengers who escaped from the crash, went to work on resuming their travel, with some even boarding new flights from the same airport in western Mexico. US citizens who had lost their passports in the crash, met with consular officials who came to Durango to assist. Some passengers spoke of one survivor who had sworn to never get on another plane and planned to buy a car and drive back to the United States.

“It’s so fast, terrifying to see all the people screaming,” recalled Corral, who was one of four people who helped the plane’s badly injured pilot escape the blaze. The pilot had suffered a serious neck injury and was in the hospital. Out of the total injured, 22 remained hospitalised till Wednesday.

Alberto Herrera, a 35-year-old webpage engineer from Chicago, said the violent storm shook the plane as it took off and seemed to come from nowhere. “When we were sitting on the plane there was a little drizzle, but nothing to worry about. It was just a little light rain, super light, like barely hitting the windows,” Herrera said.

Meanwhile, experts believe that passengers in plane crashes like this have better chances of survival due to better aircraft construction and safety standards. Air safety investigator Adrian Young, from the Netherlands-based consultancy To70, said that crash survival rates “are higher than they have ever been” in part because “airplanes are stronger than ever.”

He added that people are less likely to be trapped by collapsed seats and floors, especially if the plane comes to rest more or less level and the accident occurs on flat ground, as in the crash in northern Mexico.

There have been other improvements in recent years including interior materials that burn more slowly and don’t give off poisonous gases, and better airport construction that eliminates obstacles near runways. However, he cautioned that in accidents like this “good fortune is crucial in any accident.”

The incident reminds of a 2008 crash landing by a British Airways Boeing 777 short of the runway at London’s Heathrow Airport where all 152 passengers and crew had survived. In 2013, only 2 of 302 passengers from an Asiana 777 died when the plane crashed on landing in San Francisco.

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