LIMA, Peru (AP) – Monica Glenn and William Zea were heading off to their honeymoon after an elegant wedding a week ago. They were excited about their visit to Peru’s Amazon jungle region.

Instead, they found themselves hospitalized in Lima and being treated for burns after their Peruvian airliner crash-landed Tuesday in a jungle swamp near the city of Pucallpa, killing 35 passengers and four of the plane’s six crew members.

“Life can end in an instant. I feel extremely lucky, extremely lucky,” Glenn, 27, said from her hospital bed Friday. “I have to thank the one upstairs. I think that my faith has just grown stronger because of this experience.”

Glenn, an American, has been living in the Peruvian city of Arequipa for the last two and a half years teaching English for a living.

She met her husband in a church choir there. Zea’s experience as a Peruvian firefighter may have served to save both their lives.

They were seated in the mid section of the plane. The cockpit area burst into flames as the TANS airliner slammed into the ground and tore along a 500-yard path before breaking into two parts and sliding to a halt.

They had only seconds to get off the plane before two explosions, one in the front of the aircraft followed by another at the rear, disintegrated the aircraft.

They were among 59 people who escaped with their lives, many of them with severe burns and fractured bones. At least six foreigners died, including three Americans, an Australian woman, a Colombian woman and a Spanish woman.

For Zea, who is occupying a bed in the same hospital room with his wife, the deadly flight brought back horrific memories of the crash of a commercial airliner near Arequipa in 1996 that killed 123 people.

“I participated in the recovery of the bodies,” he said, his face covered with burns.

As the TANS airliner was crashing through trees on the ground, memories of mutilated bodies from the Arequipa accident flashed into his head.

“Everyone died that time,” he said.

Zea feels his life has changed.

“If we are here, if God has wanted us to be here, it is for a reason. Many people died on this flight.”

Glenn said she hoped to receive a visit in the hospital from a Peruvian-American family that also survived the crash, and one man from that family in particular: “I believe his name was Vivas.

“This man had rescued a small baby boy of about a year, a year and a half,” she said. “He really took charge of the situation and had everyone cuddle around the baby in a circle to protect him from the rain and from the hail.”

Gabriel Vivas and his family took the first step to getting home to Brooklyn, N.Y. on Friday when they boarded a plane from Pucallpa back to Lima.

“I’m a little nervous right now,” Vivas said as he, his wife, brother and three nieces prepared to board the flight. “A little nervous, but I look at the fact that you get more accidents in an automobile than a plane and that was just an accident that really shouldn’t have happened.”

The family planned to spend Saturday celebrating the 15th birthday of his niece, Joshelyn, at his father’s house in Lima before heading home next week, he said.


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