Des Plaines priest injured in Aeromexico plane crash returns to altar

DES PLAINES, Ill. (WLS) -- Thousands of people gathered Sunday to hear a Des Plaines priest say mass for the first time since surviving a plane crash in Mexico.

Father Esequiel Sanchez, rector at Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, was a passenger on the Aeromexico flight that crashed during takeoff earlier this month in Mexico.

It was a standing-room-only crowd to welcome Sanchez back to the altar with applause. Sanchez cradled a broken arm, but was filled with energy.

RAW VIDEO: Passenger captures moment Aeromexico plane crashes
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Cellphone video shot by Pastor Ramin Parsa shows the moment an Aeromexico plane crashed in Durango, Mexico, with more than 100 passengers on board.

Parishioner Diana Rojas arrived early to save her spot.

"Hopefully, I'll be able to give him a hug afterwards because everyone wants to see him," Rojas said.

"For me, I pray to God it makes me a more compassionate person. I love doing what I'm doing so that's not changing but what will change is a little more sensitivity for those who suffer more," Sanchez told ABC7.

Just 12 days ago, Sanchez was on board flight No. 2431 which crashed in a field a few hundred yards from the end of the runway in Durango, Mexico.

He sustained multiple fractures to his arm and underwent surgery in Mexico. His continuing his physical therapy at Loyola University Medical Center.

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Many were injured but all 103 passengers survived. Many of them were from the Chicago area, and some received a special blessing on Sunday.

"He was one of the ones who would go back and help the rest of us so it's just amazing to be part of our faith, and part of all of the things we stand for as far as our religion," said Sandra Alarco, who survived the crash.

Sanchez said he's back and ready to continue the work that God still wants him to finish.

"It opened up peoples' hearts and I'm very grateful to hear it. Because you'd hate to hear it at a eulogy but you're hearing it on this side of life," Sanchez said.
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