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An Aeromexico plane crashed suddenly on Tuesday shortly after takeoff—and a 17-year-old passenger caught it on video.
Ashley Garcia had a window seat near one of the plane’s wings and was recording what appeared to be a simple takeoff during hailfall. The video shows a sudden lurch and heavy shaking only seconds after takeoff, as people scream and cry in the background. “It happened all immediately in what felt like one moment,” Garcia said to BuzzFeed News.
Today I faced my biggest fear. Nothing can describe how I felt in that moment but I have no one to thank except God, for giving me the opportunity to come out alive and well. I will forever be counting my blessings 😭❤️ pic.twitter.com/XUG3FA9q37— ashley garcia (@thenamesashleyy) August 1, 2018
The video Garcia took also shows the aftermath of the evacuation, with the plane pouring smoke and bright flames. By some miracle, all 103 passengers and crew members escaped the plane alive. The pilot was severely injured, and it took the help of four people to get him off the plane.
“It’s so fast, terrifying to see all the people screaming,” 52-year-old Jose Luis Corral, one of the people who assisted the pilot, told the Associated Press. “It’s a good thing we’re all alive.”
In the video showing the aftermath, Garcia and other passengers can be heard weeping as they walk through the brush, away from the burning plane. She only sustained minor injuries, but other passengers were burned during the evacuation. According to Aeromexico, as of Wednesday morning, 64 survivors were released from local hospitals, but the pilot is still hospitalized for treatment of his injuries.
“I really didn’t think I would make it because of all the smoke and there was so much going on,” said Garcia of the evacuation, “but as soon as I saw the light, I knew we would be OK.”
An investigation is still underway to discover what exactly caused the crash. One passenger, 35-year-old Alberto Herrera, believes the weather is to blame. He described the takeoff to the Associated Press, saying, “All of the sudden the plane starts struggling and it’s getting hit with hail. The higher up we went into the storm, the heavier the hail got and more wind got to us.”
Whatever the cause, Garcia counts herself lucky to be alive. “Today I faced my biggest fear,” she said on Twitter. “I will forever be counting my blessings.”
H/T BuzzFeed News
Alex Dalbey is a writer and zinester currently living in Saint Paul, Minnesota. They have written for The Daily Dot, Kill Screen, The Lingerie Addict, and Bullet Points.