A heart-wrenching video has taken the internet by storm where a Latam Airlines plane struck a fire truck on the runway and caught fire while taking off Friday. Though authorities claim that passengers and crew onboard are reportedly safe, two firefighters in the truck were killed in the incident. Lima Airport Partners, the company that operates the Jorge Chavez airport, stated in a tweet that operations at the facility had been suspended. There were 102 passengers and six crew members aboard the Airbus A320neo. Videos on social media showed smoke coming from a large plane on the runway. President Pedro Castillo expressed his condolences to the families of the firefighters in a tweet.
“Our teams are providing the necessary care to all passengers, who are in good condition,” the company said. Luis Ponce La Jara, general commander of the fire department, said two firefighters were killed and one was injured when the truck they were in was struck by the plane. Both the plane and the firetruck were in motion when they collided.
Flight LA2213 was taking off from Lima’s main airport en route to the Peruvian city of Juliaca. LATAM Airlines said it lamented the death of the firefighters and would provide flexibility to affected passengers at no extra cost. But it said it did not know why the fire truck was on the runway.
“No emergency was reported on the flight. It was a flight that was in optimal conditions to take off, it had the authorisation to take off and it encountered a truck on the runway and we do not know what the truck was doing there,” said Manuel van Oordt, general manager of LATAM Airlines, Peru. “We have to investigate and establish why it was there.”
The Prosecutor’s Office in Callao, where the airport is located, said an investigation into the cause of the accident had been opened. According to the fire department, the incident was registered at 3:25 pm and four rescue units were mobilised. Aviation authorities said operations at the Jorge Chavez International Airport were suspended until 1 pm local time on Saturday.
(With inputs from PTI)