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Two firefighters killed in Peru as plane hits airport fire truck

By AFP
19 November 2022   |   10:33 am
Two Peruvian firefighters were killed Friday when a passenger plane collided with their truck during takeoff and then crashed on the runway, airport operators said.

This grab from an AFP video shows the LA2213 flight plane after it collided with a firefighting vehicle at the Jorge Chavez International Ariport in Lima, on November 18, 2022. – Two firefighters died this Friday after their vehicle collided with a Latam airline plane that was taking off from the Lima airport for a domestic flight, an incident that the Peruvian prosecutor’s office will investigate “for possible crimes of homicide and injuries.” (Photo by Christian SIERRA / AFPTV / AFP)

Two Peruvian firefighters were killed Friday when a passenger plane collided with their truck during takeoff and then crashed on the runway, airport operators said.

The airline LATAM, which operated the domestic flight out of Lima, said 102 passengers were onboard at the time but “no passengers or crew members lost their lives”.

Footage taken by witnesses and broadcast by Peruvian television channels showed the plane — an Airbus A320, according to aircraft tracking websites — taking off at full speed and hitting the fire truck, also traveling at speed.

With its landing gear damaged, the plane continued its course with its right side dragging along the runway, sending up a trail of sparks. When it stopped, the aircraft emitted a cloud of smoke, with the rear of the plane badly burned.

As well as killing the two firefighters, the incident injured a rescuer who was in the firefighting vehicle and is “in critical condition due to head trauma,” according to security official Aurelio Orellana.

Lima Airport Partners (LAP) which operates the Jorge Chavez airport, said it “deeply regrets the loss of life of two members of the LAP Aeronautical Fire Brigade in the accident that occurred between a fire engine and the aircraft operating flight LA2213 from Lima to Juliaca.”

LAP added that its “teams are providing the necessary care to all passengers, who are doing well.”

“We are also investigating to determine the cause of the incident.”

The general manager of LATAM Peru, Manuel van Oordt, said he was surprised that firefighters were on the runway since 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, he had permission to take off, and he found a truck on the runway and we do not know what this truck was doing there,” he said at a press conference.

The Lima fire department said it received an alert at 3:25 pm local time (2025 GMT) and four ambulances and rescue units were deployed.

The prosecutor’s office said it would launch an investigation into the “possible crimes of culpable homicide and culpable injuries.”

Airport operations have been suspended “until further notice,” the management company said.

Last month, a LATAM plane with 48 passengers onboard made an emergency landing in Asuncion, Paraguay after flying through a severe storm.