Aeromexico Passenger On Everyone Surviving Plane Crash: 'It Was A Miracle'09:39
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Ramin Parsa of Los Angeles hugs a woman and her two children who were fellow passengers aboard Aeromexico flight 2431, as they meet again at an office where U.S. citizens who lost their passports in the crash were receiving help from a consular official, in Durango, Mexico Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2018. (Rebecca Blackwell/AP)MoreCloseclosemore
Ramin Parsa of Los Angeles hugs a woman and her two children who were fellow passengers aboard Aeromexico flight 2431, as they meet again at an office where U.S. citizens who lost their passports in the crash were receiving help from a consular official, in Durango, Mexico Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2018. (Rebecca Blackwell/AP)

Nearly a dozen people who survived an Aeromexico jetliner crash last week are now suing the airline. Flight 2431 was leaving Durango, Mexico, bound for Mexico City when it crashed shortly after takeoff with more than 100 people on board. The cause is still being investigated.

The most remarkable thing about the crash, though: All 103 passengers and crew survived.

Here & Now's Jeremy Hobson speaks with Ramin Parsa (@ramin_parsa) of Los Angeles, one of the survivors.

Interview Highlights

On an audio clip recorded during the crash in which he can be heard praying

“Yes. Yes, that's me. I'm praying. When the impact happened, I began to pray, and I began to call on the name of Jesus, because this name has helped me a lot in the past. So, when this happened, I know who to call.”

On the sequence of events that led to the crash

“When we were boarding the airplane, everything was fine, the weather was perfect. By the time everybody boarded the airplane, suddenly, a dark cloud began to come in. And so, it began to rain heavily, and the wind was blowing very, very heavily. The trees are bent. That's how strong the wind was. An airplane was shaking, so I thought, ‘Well, we're going to have probably an hour-to-30-minutes delay. We're going to wait here until this clears up so we can take off.’

“I wouldn't believe that the pilot [would] take off, and so I began to film the outside. I was filming the rain, and, suddenly, the airplane began to move, and he began to speed up to takeoff, and I said, ‘Well, maybe he knows what he's doing. That's his job.’

“After like 35 seconds in the air, going up and down, and then after struggling to go up and down, it was a struggle — like turbulence almost. And then, boom, impact, and it crashed on the ground.

“The moment it crashed on the ground, the engines caught on fire, and just like a ball, the airplane was bouncing up and down and moving. I think 450 yards it slided on the ground and went off the runway, went along the trees and among the bushes, and that's when I called on the name of Jesus. And I believe it was a miracle that we are alive.”

Alberto Herrera stands in a rain shower in a field watching smoke billow from the downed Aeromexico jetliner he was traveling in, near the airport in Durango, Mexico July 31, 2018. (Alberto Herrera via AP)
Alberto Herrera stands in a rain shower in a field watching smoke billow from the downed Aeromexico jetliner he was traveling in, near the airport in Durango, Mexico July 31, 2018. (Alberto Herrera via AP)

On how all 103 passengers and crew were able to escape the plane

“People were screaming and panicking and trying to get out. All the lights of the airplane went off. It was pitch dark, and smoke started coming in. That was, in my opinion, the worst part, because the smoke was terrifying. Didn't have time to think, to breathe, and everybody's trying to open the door.

“My window was orange because of fire. I mean, all the windows were almost orange. We could not even breathe. And when I prayed a second time, I say, ‘In the name of Jesus, my Lord, Jesus.’ When I say that, I felt a fresh breeze came and hit my face, and suddenly, I found myself in front of the exit door. I don't know how I got there.

“I saw this lady dragging her father … so I push her dad out of the airplane, and we jump on the wing of the airplane, the right wing of the airplane, and we ran toward the tail of the airplane, and we moved away, because the airplane could explode at any time.”

Red Cross and rescue workers carry an injured person on a stretcher, as airline workers walk away from the site where an Aeromexico airliner crashed in a field near the airport in Durango, Mexico July 31, 2018. (Red Cross Durango via AP)
Red Cross and rescue workers carry an injured person on a stretcher, as airline workers walk away from the site where an Aeromexico airliner crashed in a field near the airport in Durango, Mexico July 31, 2018. (Red Cross Durango via AP)

On Aeromexico’s response to the incident and whether the pilot should be faulted for the crash

“They [Aeromexico] really haven't been professional. It's sad, they haven't even reached out to us ever since. Even for coming back, we had to call them multiple times and be on the line for 20 minutes, 30 minutes, to figure something out. And they really haven't even reached out to us.

“When I was sitting there, I knew we're going to have delays. So, we said, ‘We're going to have an hour, probably 30-minutes delay.’ So, I was expecting that, and suddenly for some reason the pilot decided to take off.

“If you look at the video, you can hear the wind and you can hear, you can see the thickness of the air. And you can see the storm and the heavy rain, and I wouldn't even imagine [why] this pilot would take off in that weather. So it was his fault absolutely.”

"What this experience taught me was to be thankful for every second, for every day, for every minute that I got, to love one another, because love is the key."

Ramin Parsa

On how his life has changed since surviving the crash

“It's like you are born again … It's like you died, then you came back to life again. Sometimes, we take for granted, we just complain, and we're sad because of the things of this world, because of material things, and we just become so complacent.

“What this experience taught me was to be thankful for every second, for every day, for every minute that I got, to love one another, because love is the key.

“It taught me to be more thankful and to be grateful and to use my time for something pretty important … and not to waste time, but to take life and appreciate it, because it's a gift. It's truly a gift. And in that situation, it was a glimpse of hell. The way I can describe it, it was so terrifying.”

On his reason for traveling to Durango, Mexico, to begin with

“My purpose to go there [Durango] was a mission trip. I went to a Bible school, and I've been going around teaching the Bible, telling people my story and the story of hope and that there's hope in Jesus, that there's a God, there's a supernatural help, that Jesus is real. He's alive. It's not religion; it's a relationship.”

This segment aired on August 8, 2018.

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