Aeroméxico crash: Americans in plane crash share dramatic stories

Questions about Aeroméxico jet takeoff

Dramatic new accounts from some of the 103 people who survived a plane crash in Durango, Mexico are giving insight into why it may have gone down. Cellphone video from inside the Aeroméxico plane shows heavy wind and hail during take-off Tuesday just before it crashed. At least 65 Americans were on board the plane. 

The Embraer 190 jetliner began its ascent from the runway, but crashed less than a minute later. As the left wing hit the ground, the plane lost both engines and came to a stop more than 300 yards from the runway, reports CBS News' Manuel Bojorquez. 

Some of those 65 Americans are back home in the U.S. Thursday morning. One mother who freed her daughter from her seat and dragged her out of the plane told reporters she was holding on to her so tight, her daughter was afraid she'd break her arm. 

"We didn't think we were going to make it. I honestly have no idea how anyone survived," Dorelia Rivera, who was on board Aeroméxico Flight 2431 with her 14-year-old daughter.

Cell phone videos from inside the aircraft show the plane struggling in harsh weather conditions moments before the crash and timelapse video shows the storm moving over Durango around the time the plane took off.

Passengers capture dramatic footage of Aeroméxico plane crash

"As we started going up the wind started picking up and then the hail started coming down on us. The plane couldn't handle it and we just came down," passenger Alberto Herrera said.

 As passengers escaped the wreckage, many fought through plumes of thick smoke visible from miles away. Some survivors, like Ramin Parsa, wonder why the plane took off at all.

"I think it was a mistake by the pilot. He should not have taken off," Parsa said.

Travel industry analyst Henry Harteveldt said while the crew's actions certainly saved lives, investigators will be analyzing the moments leading up to take-off.

"Pilots have the right, by the way, to say I don't think it's safe, I don't care what the airline says," Harteveldt said. "I'm not going to be taking off until I'm convinced it's as safe as it's going to be."

According to Aeroméxico, so far, 64 people have been released from the hospital. The National Transportation Safety Board sent two investigators to assist Mexico's Ministry of Transportation. Mexican investigators reported both black boxes have been recovered from the crash site.