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'Miracle' survivors after Boeing 737 crash lands

Plane splits into three after lightning strike but 130 people survive.
NEWS, Aviation

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The survival of 124 passengers and six crew members on a Boeing 737-700 has been described as “a miracle”, after the aircraft crash landed in Colombia today and broke into three pieces.

The plane, operated by Aires, was travelling from Bogota to San Andres Island when it landed in the middle of an “intense electrical storm”, according to a report by Sky News.

Pilots landed the B737 around 80 metres short of the runway at San Andres Island Airport, resulting in the aircraft breaking apart and killing one passenger. A further 34 passengers received non-life threatening injuries and were taken to a local hospital for treatment.

San Andres Island Police reported that the airplane was struck by lightning just as it flared and touched down, with the island's governor Pedro Gallardo stating it was a "miracle" that only one person was killed.

The dead passenger was named locally as 68-year-old Amar Fernandez de Barretos, who reportedly suffered a heart attack just after the crash.

"The captain of the airliner (pilot) told us it was struck by lightning. We are inspecting the remains of the plane to try to establish what the damages were and what caused the accident," Donald Tascon, deputy director of Colombia's aeronautics authority, was quoted as saying by Sky News.

The island's airport was closed as an investigation was launched. A spokesman for Airline Aires said the passengers included eight US citizens and four Brazilians.

UPDATE: IN PICS: Aires Airline's Boeing Crash in Colombia

The survival of 124 passengers and six crew members on a Boeing 737-700 has been described as “a miracle”, after the aircraft crash landed in Colombia today and broke into three pieces. The plane, operated by Aires, was travelling from Bogota to San Andres Island when it landed in the middle of an “intense electrical storm”.


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