The Mexico City-bound Embraer 190 passenger jet smashed into scrubland near the runway shortly after the plane took off from an airport in northern Durango State on Tuesday. Among the 103 passengers and crew who survived by evacuating the plane before it caught fire 65 were U.S. citizens, according to the investigators that combed the wreckage for clues to the cause of the accident.
The U.S. consulate general in Monterrey and the U.S. embassy in Mexico City have been in touch with local and federal officials in Mexico and with the airline.
The plane’s flight recorders, commonly known as “black box,” which contain crucial details of the last minutes of a flight before an accident, had been found.
A time-lapse video posted by Webcams of Mexico, filmed during the hour before the crash, showed dark clouds and fog or rain moving in.
“The impact was very strong. We wanted to think it was a lightening strike,” said Chicago resident and passenger Lorenzo Nunez. “It was terrible, absolutely terrible.” Nunez said he had been visiting family in Durango.
It is too early to say what caused the crash of flight number 2431, officials said, but at least all the passengers are safe.
Aeromexico in a Wednesday morning Twitter post that 64 people had been released from hospitals.
Two people were more seriously injured, including the pilot and a minor, the state health department said.
It can take safety investigators months to piece together the complex chain of events leading to an accident.
Determining the cause of the Durango crash may be made easier by the location of the crash, which should allow easy access to evidence, such as the retrieved flight recorders, as well as interviews with the crew and other survivors.
Under international rules, Mexico will lead the investigation with support from Brazil, where the Embraer jet was designed and built, and from the United States, where General Electric Co made the CF34-10E engines.