Steph Deschamps / November 19, 2022
An airliner taking off collided with a fire truck Friday at Lima International Airport, causing the aircraft to catch fire and evacuate passengers, and killing two firefighters, several official sources said.
Lima Airport Partners (LAP), the operator of the Jorge Chavez airport, “deeply regrets the loss of life of two members of the aeronautical fire department of LAP in the accident that occurred between a fire engine and the aircraft operating flight LA2213 from Lima to Juliaca”, near the border with Bolivia.
In addition to the two dead firefighters, a rescuer who was in the firefighting vehicle was injured and is “in critical condition due to head trauma”, according to a security official, Aurelio Orellana.
Operations at the country’s main air terminal were suspended until 1 p.m. Saturday, Lima Airport Partners reported.
The airline LATAM, which operated this domestic flight, “confirms that no passenger or crew member lost their life”.
The plane was carrying 102 passengers and six crew members.
The general manager of LATAM Peru, Manuel van Oordt, expressed his amazement at the presence of firefighters on the runway, saying that the pilot of the plane had not reported any anomalies.
No emergency was reported in the flight, it was a flight that was in optimal conditions to take off, it had permission to take off, and it found a truck on the runway and we do not know what that truck was doing there,” he said at a press conference at the airport.
The Ministry of Transport also confirmed “an accident on the runway of the Jorge Chavez airport.”
“After the report of the death of two aeronautical firefighters and an injured person, the prosecutor’s office is seeking to establish the facts before possible indictment for crimes of homicide and injury,” said this body.
LAP said its “crews are providing the necessary care to all passengers, who are doing well.” “We are also investigating to determine the causes of the incident,” he added.
The Lima fire department said that the alert had been triggered at 15:25 and that four ambulances and rescue units had been deployed.
Images taken by witnesses of the accident and diffused by television channels show the plane — an Airbus A320, according to the Internet sites of tracing of the planes — at full speed in view of its takeoff to collide with a truck circulating at high speed and cutting him the road.
The damaged landing gear, the plane continued its course rubbing the runway with the right wing, raising fire sprays.
When the plane stopped, dense smoke was emitted from the aircraft, which was on fire.
Many flights were cancelled while others were diverted to the airport of Pisco, located 250 km south of the Peruvian capital. The international connections, in particular with North America, are also disrupted because Lima is a platform for the connections in the region.
In October, a LATAM plane with 48 passengers on board made an emergency landing in Asuncion after flying through a violent storm.