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Peru Woman Survives 2nd Plane Crash

May 8, 1998

LIMA, Peru (AP) _ When she staggered from the burning wreckage of an air force plane that had slammed into Peru’s Amazon jungle, killing 74 people, Keila Malpartida knew she had beaten death _ again.

It was the second plane crash that Malpartida, a 22-year-old air force flight attendant, survived with minor injuries.

``It’s as if your life passes in a second, and in that moment you only think of God and your family,″ Malpartida, who suffered a concussion, said Friday in her room in Lima’s Air Force Hospital. ``You ask for the strength to keep going.″

Despite the accidents, she said she plans to keep flying.

The Boeing 737, chartered by the U.S.-based Occidental Petroleum to shuttle oil workers, slammed into the a jungle swamp late Tuesday with 87 people on board shortly before landing at the oil camp of Andoas, near the Ecuadorean border, Occidental said.

The cause of the accident and whether the plane was making a landing approach have not been determined, but it was raining at the time, Occidental said.

The 13 survivors were carried on stretchers to Andoas, 625 miles north of Lima. Heavy rain delayed airborne medical teams from reaching them for more than a day.

Malpartida says she was knocked unconscious by the crash, but came to and was helped from the burning plane by a fellow flight attendant. All 13 survivors were in the tail of the plane.

``There were three of us alive,″ she said. ``We walked and walked to get away from the burning plane. First we found one passenger who had survived. We yelled to see if there were more survivors and we found five more.″

Malpartida also survived a 1994 crash when the plane she was working on plummeted into a jungle river in Peru. She was swept along by the waters until local residents managed pull her out, she recalled. The plane had 30 people on board and six died.

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