CHICAGO (CBS) — Two Chicago area residents were among 103 people who survived a fiery plane crash in Mexico on Tuesday. Dozens of people were injured, but no one died in the crash.
Aeromexico flight 2431 went down shortly after takeoff in the northern state of Durango on Tuesday, en route to Mexico City, and caught fire after the crash.
Durango’s governor said the plane was hit by a gust of wind as it left the runway, causing the plane to lose speed and hit the ground on its left wing. The engines were knocked loose, and caught fire a few hundred yards from takeoff.
Amazingly, all 99 passengers and four crew members survived. At least 80 people were injured, and 49 were hospitalized. The pilot and one other person were in serious but stable condition.
Fr. Esequiel Sanchez, rector of Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Des Plaines, suffered minor injuries, but was alert and resting on Wednesday, according to the Archdiocese of Chicago.
The Chicago-born priest was returning from a vacation at his family’s ancestral home when the plane crashed.
The church wrote a Facebook message to reassure parishioners about their injured spiritual leader. Hundreds of people have been leaving well wishes in the comments on that Facebook post.
Our Lady of Guadalupe vice rector Fr. Manuel Padilla spoke to Sanchez on the phone after the crash.
“He called us, telling us that he was on the plane, he had the accident, and he called from the hospital, told us he has a broken arm, and some contusions, some pain, and thanks to God nobody died,” he said. “He asked to us to pray for him, and for all the people who was on the plane. He’s more or less okay, with the exception of the arm.”
Joliet resident Anabel Estrada also was on board the plane, and talked about how it hit the ground twice during the crash.
“The second impact was a lot stronger. This is when I jumped and hit my head against the ceiling,” Estrada said. “After the second impact, I saw flames in the cabin ahead of me.”
The airline’s CEO said the Embraer 190 jet was 10 years old, “perfectly maintained,” and was last serviced in February.