MIAMI — Video shot by a passenger shows the stormy weatherencountered upon takeoff from Durango, Mexico, Tuesday. The plane appears to struggle to climb above land before eventually crashing down.
In the moments after, panicked passengers are heard screaming while they look for the exits. The engines had caught fire. Ashley Garcia shot video as she and other passengers fled to safety.
"I got off the plane, I saw people, their face gushing blood, they had cut lips," Garcia said. "I know some kids got like burns, like actual burns."
Mexican officials say the control tower reported the Embraer 190 jetliner descended abruptly as it attempted take off, possibly due to a severe gust of wind. The left wing appeared to hit the ground, but the plane came to a stop more than 300 yards from the runway, somehow still upright, allowing exit slides to deploy.
Chicago priest Esequiel Sanchez spoke to CBS News as he recovers from broken bones.
"I think because we lost velocity the plane didn't flip over. We were able to get out, and my respects to the crew. They did a great job helping everybody get out," he said.
Aviation experts also credited improved airplane construction, including seats and floors less prone to collapse.
Though many remain hospitalized with burns, including the pilot, survivor Alberto Herrera from the Chicago area told us it's all still hard to believe.
"First thing I did was drink a big, big, big shot of tequila, I'm not going to lie," he said. "Because I just fell from the sky and I am here to live and talk about it."
Aeroméxico has not had a deadly crash in a decade, and the airline said it's too early to rule out mechanical problems or human error. The crash highlights the importance of undeveloped land around airports, which can act as a buffer when a plane goes off the runway.