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Dozens injured in Mexican plane crash

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Handout picture released by Durango’s Civil Protection showing firemen working as smoke billows from the wreckage of a plane that crashed with 97 passengers and four crew on board on take off at the airport of Durango, in northern Mexico, on July 31, 2018. Dozens of people were injured as an airliner crashed on takeoff during a heavy hail storm in northern Mexico, engulfing the plane in flames, Aeromexico airline and passengers said Tuesday. / AFP PHOTO / DURANGO CIVIL PROTECTION / HO / 

Dozens of people were injured as an airliner crashed on takeoff during a heavy hail storm in northern Mexico, engulfing the plane in flames, officials said Tuesday.

“It is confirmed that there have been no deaths from the flight #AM2431 accident,” tweeted Jose Rosas, the governor of Durango, where the crash happened.

Passengers said there had been “a strange movement” on takeoff and “that was when the accident happened,” Rosas told the Milenio television channel.

Dozens of lightly injured passengers left the plane, which was engulfed in gray smoke in a field.

“Approximately 85 people are injured,” Durango’s civil defense spokesman Alejandro Cardoza told Milenio.

The plane tried to take off in the hail storm but was forced into an emergency landing in a field around 10 kilometers (six miles) from the Durango airport.

“The fire started after the emergency landing” but “fortunately no one suffered burns,” said Cardoza, who added that there had been “some serious injuries” but that most people sustained “very minor… knocks.”

The plane carrying 97 passengers and four crew heading from Durango to the capital Mexico City, “crashed on takeoff” around 4:00 pm (2100 GMT), Transport Minister Gerardo Ruiz Esparza said.

Emergency services, the army and the Red Cross were on the scene.

The first images of the crash site shared on social and Mexican media showed a plane partially immersed in flames.

Aeromexico, the airliner that operated the flight, said it was “working to verify the information and gather details.”

“I pray that the crew and all the passengers are OK,” said Mexico President Enrique Pena Nieto.


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