Relatives of the victims of a deadly plane crash in Ecuador criticized the crew and civil aeronautic officials for allowing the plane to take off after repeated attempts to start an engine.
The Tupolev 154 aircraft burst into flames Saturday during takeoff, clipping through two homes and a shop before slamming into a field at Quito's Mariscal Sucre International Airport, killing 79 people."How is it possible that they allowed a plane to take off after the engine failed to start five times?" said Jorge Crespo, the uncle of Rodrigo Crespo, who died Saturday.
Survivors say Rodrigo Crespo walked up to the cabin and tried to prevent the crew from taking off but was turned away.
"There was a great deal of noise, the plane started to shake, we all went forward and the plane split in half," said Eduardo Rivadeneira, 21, one of the crash survivors who was traveling with his aunt.
"I then saw . . . people on fire and shouting madly. I managed to get out of the plane before it burst into fire," he said. "My aunt did not make it."
None of the crew survived the crash. Two stewardesses who helped passengers escape from the burning plane were consumed by the fire, survivors told local newspapers.
Elvira San Martin, mother of three children who were playing on the ground and were killed by the crash, went to the city morgue supported by family members. She wept as she saw their charred corpses.
"My kids were playing," she said, "and then I never saw them again."