Authorities Probing 'Miracle' Colombia Plane Crash

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U.S. transportation officials have traveled to Colombia to help investigate Monday's crash of a Boeing 737 passenger jet.

The local Colombian governor is calling it a miracle that there was only one casualty after Aires Flight 8520 landed short of the runway and broke into three pieces.

"It was a miracle and we have to give thanks to God," Gov. Pedro Gallardo said.

Officials said the number of people killed in the accident should have been higher.

"It's incredible. For the dimension (of the accident), there should be more," local hospital director Dr. Robert Sanchez said.

After the plane slid on its belly and fractured the fuselage, the 131 passengers on board had to scramble to safety. One woman suffered a fatal heart attack after the crash. Only five people were seriously injured.

Eight American citizens were onboard the plane, which was en route from Bogota. Authorities are investigating whether lightning hit plane causing the crash.
Monday's crash is the latest in a series of airline accidents where there has miraculously been no loss of life.
Last year, an American Airlines 737 skidded off a runway in Kingston, Jamaica, splitting the aircraft in two. And in 2008, a Continental Airlines jet caught fire and cracked in half in Denver.
No one died in either crash, and aviation experts attributed the lack of casualties to safety improvements.
"There's been changes to the seats, the interiors, all to make them more crash worthy and obviously it is working," Flight Safety Foundation President Bill Voss said.

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