More survivor stories from Chicago area passengers after plane crash in Mexico

Father Esequiel Sanchez had surgery Wednesday for his broken arm after surviving a plane crash in Mexico.

Now, we are hearing from him and other survivors, some of which are calling the incident nothing short of a miracle.

As the flight from Durango to Mexico City came crashing back down to the ground shortly after takeoff, Northlake resident Ashley Garcia captured the hysteria around her.

“I thought as long as it doesn't catch fire we're fine, but when it caught fire that's when I immediately knew this is going way too bad, we need to get out,” Garcia said.

Garcia says seats caught on fire as everyone rushed to the back of the plane to escape.

“I just couldn't breathe. I couldn't see and I didn't know if I was going to make it out alive,” Garcia said.

Also on board was Father Esequiel Sanchez, who’s the rector of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Des Plaines.

"Once we saw fire…the possibility of survival began to severely drop,” he said.

Father Sanchez walked away with only a broken arm. He was there with 15 others from Chicago all celebrating his 50th birthday.

"The smoke was unbearable, burning sensation to breathe, it was pretty bad, it was pretty bad, but I was watching people run away from the plane, I was really hoping to see they get everybody out,” Father Sanchez said. "We didn't lose anyone and that's to me, a miracle. We didn't lose anyone. Thank God."

On Wednesday night, parishioners gathered at the shrine to pray for him and all the passengers.

"He's in the hospital now recuperating from a surgery and so we are praying for him and for everyone's recovery,” said Father Charlie Plovanich.

Judy Diaz says her husband, Oscar, was also on board and was tossed around the cabin like a rag doll.

“The way he said it went sideways, he heard booms then all of a sudden there was a lot of smoke in there and people were disoriented and he goes I don't know how we got out,” Diaz said.

Her husband has two fractured vertebrae, but most likely won't need surgery.

“We are just thankful, coming to give thanks to God for the miracle that, the miracle that happened yesterday,” Diaz said.

She says her husband was coming home Wednesday night on a late flight.

As for Father Sanchez, he is expected to get out of the hospital sometime Thursday.

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