The Aeromexico plane that crashed in northern Mexico on Wednesday morning was apparently hit by a sudden gust of wind as it left the runway.
All 103 passengers and crew – including two infants – miraculously survived, with most walking away from the fiery wreckage in the state of Durango.
The plane had barely taken off when it felt like it was hit by a strong air current, one passenger told TV network Televisa.
Durango Governor Jose Rosas Aispuro said the plane’s left wing hit the ground, knocking off two engines, before it came to a halt 300 metres from the runway.
Grupo Aeroportuario Centro Norte, the airport operator, also attributed the crash to bad weather.
Aeromexico said in a statement: “We deeply regret this accident. The families of all those affected are in our thoughts and in our hearts.”
Passenger Jackeline Flores told reporters the plane crashed shortly after taking off in heavy rain.
Ms Flores and her daughter escaped from a hole in the fuselage as the aircraft filled up with smoke and flames, she said.
Flores said her passport and documents burned in the fire.
“I feel blessed and grateful to God,” she said.
Passengers were able to escape on the plane’s emergency slides before it was engulfed in flames, the passenger said.
Governor Aispuro later confirmed the plane’s pilot, who was among the 85 injured, was in a stable condition after surgery. Associated Press reported him saying the plane was hit by a wind gust as it took off on Tuesday afternoon local time.
BREAKING: Governor says Aeromexico airliner was hit by wind gust as it left runway just before crashing in northern Mexico
— The Associated Press (@AP) August 1, 2018
Mexican television footage showed the smouldering wreck of the aircraft after it went down near Guadalupe Victoria International Airport. Medical facilities across Durango were put on immediate standby, but Mr Aispuro confirmed shortly after that there had been no fatalities.
Durango state civil defence office director Israel Solano Mejia told Foro TV 85 people were hurt in the incident.
“The majority of passengers left [the plane] under their own power,” he said.
Alejandro Cardoza, a spokesman for the Durango civil protection agency said 37 passengers were hospitalised, while state’s health department said two people were in a serious condition.
Reports said some passengers walked to a highway to seek help.
The head of Mexico’s Transport Department said earlier that “the plane fell upon takeoff”.
Aeromexico said it was working with authorities to provide medical attention to the people aboard the flight.
“We deeply regret this accident and the families of all those affected are in our thoughts. We’re focused on dealing with the situation and are doing everything necessary to assist the families of our passengers and crew during this difficult time,” the airline said in a statement.
Aeromexico said the incident involved an Embraer 190 aircraft with a capacity of 100 passengers on a flight from Durango to the capital Mexico City, 885 kilometres to the south-east.
The Planespotters.net aviation industry website describes the Embraer 190 as being about a decade old.
The site said the Brazilian-made, medium-range jet had been in service with two other airlines before joining the Aeromexico fleet.
Mexican broadcaster Milenio showed images of rescuers attending to passengers.
It is not yet known if any Australians were on board the aircraft.