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Colombian 'Miracle' Plane Crash: Inside the Story of Survival

Pregnant American Onboard Says It Was 'Like a Nightmare,' but She's 'Thankful' to Be Alive

Colombian 'Miracle' Plane Crash: Inside the Story of Survival
The Boeing 737-700, carrying 131 passengers, crashed while landing at Colombia's San Andres island during a thunderstorm, killing one person on board.
(Stringer/Reuters)

Aviation Experts Credit Plane's Design for 'Miracle' Crash

Aviation experts say the aircraft's improved design was what saved so many lives, pointing to the fuel tanks' location on the wings of the plane as playing a crucial role.

"One of the important things that made this crash survivable is there was no fire," said aviation expert John Landsman. "It's not unusual to have people survive the impact, but [they] often perish in fire afterward."

Carolina Bellino said she looked to God and was thankful that she and her baby survived the dramatic ordeal.

"It was just so amazing ... seeing all these people. I don't know if it's 80 people. They're all alive," she said. "You know, I'm thankful to God. This is a miracle."

After the harrowing crash, the parents-to-be look at life differently.

"It's a new beginning for us," she said. "You know you realize you can lose your life in just 20 seconds."

Related

Boeing 737 Splits on Landing; One Passenger Dies

The Aires website said the airline has 10 Boeing 737-700s in service. The oldest was originally put into service by Southwest Airlines in 1997.

This is the second time a 737-700 has been involved in an accident in which people died, according to the website AirSafe.com.

The previous accident took place Dec. 8, 2005, when the pilot of a Southwest Airlines flight landing at Chicago's Midway Airport from Baltimore couldn't stop the aircraft on the runway. The aircraft struck a fence and two vehicles on the ground, killing a 6-year-old boy, but none of the 95 passengers onboard were seriously injured.

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