"I prayed and we got away from there"

One of the survivors in a Peruvian plane crash, Yuri Salas, crawled from the burning wreckage of a Boeing jetliner, one of 52 people who survived Tuesday's crash with 100 aboard in Peru's muddy Amazon basin - and lived to tell about it.

The home appliance salesman said, "Up to the end, everything was dark and the turbulence was very strong," as the Boeing 737-200 approached the airport at the city of Pucallpa, 840km northeast of Lima.

"The plane was jumping, stronger, stronger, and the more it came down, the rougher it got," he told Radio CPN.

"The pilot told us that we were at 10 000 feet and we were about to descend, but all the time I felt more turbulence," he said.

They were headed for the airport in the regional capital of Pucallpa, a poor town of mud streets. The largest industry is cutting exotic woods in the Amazon jungle that surrounds the town.

"Then came a thump, and I didn't know if it was the landing or what, and I closed my eyes, I think I lost consciousness and then I saw flames, fire ahead," he said.

"I prayed and we got away from there. You couldn't see a thing - just fire and lots of smoke, plus a torrential rain."

"We got away as fast as we could because someone said the plane could explode," Salas said.

Salas was treated at a regional clinic, where official Bertha Garcia said five bodies and 23 injured had been received.

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