Latam Airlines plane crashes on runway, kills two firefighters

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A Latam airlines jet collided with a firetruck on its runway as it was taking off, killing two firefighters in Lima, Peru on Friday. Angel Torres and Nicolas Santa Gadea lost their lives as the Latam flight, LA2213, smashed into a fire truck.

Peru's health ministry said that two passengers were in serious condition and 20 were receiving treatment. No crew members or passengers were dead, the official statement said. The authorities are now investigating the accident as potential manslaughter.

It remains unclear why the fire truck was on the runway, local reports said. The collision took place at about 3:30pm local time at the Jorge Chavez International airport in Lima, Peru. The flight, LA2213 -- an Airbus A320 --  was going to Juliaca Inca Manco Capac International airport from Lima, the airline officials said.

Latam CEO Manuel Van Oordt told the media that the flight had been cleared for take-off. "We don't know why [the fire truck] was there. We didn't ask for their services." Meanwhile, President Pedro Castillo of Peru has expressed his condolences to the families of the two firefighters that lost their lives in the accident.

He tweeted: "I express my heartfelt condolences to the relatives of Angel Torres and Nicolas Santa Gadea, brave firefighters who died in the accident. My thoughts and my prayers are with them. I pray for the recovery of the wounded."

After the disastrous collision, operations at the Jorge Chavez airport in Peru were suspended till Saturday afternoon.

pPeople who lost their flights remain outside the closed Jorge Chavez International Airport after the accident of the LA2213 flight in Lima, on 18 November 2022/p

People who lost their flights remain outside the closed Jorge Chavez International Airport after the accident of the LA2213 flight in Lima, on 18 November 2022

(AFP via Getty Images)

Lima Airport Partners, which operates Jorge Chavez airport said that "at this moment we are finding and investigating all the necessary factors that could determine the cause of this." Videos on social media show the plane coming to an abrupt halt after the collision as plumes of smoke and tall flames could be seen rising from the aircraft. Passengers waiting at the airport for other planes described the "harrowing" visuals as the collision took place.

pThis 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/p

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

(AFPTV/AFP via Getty Images)

Reuters quoted one person, Mauro Ferreira,  who was waiting to take a flight to Panama as saying that "everyone in the departure lounge was apprehensive until we saw the plane stopped, and then the fire engines and ambulances arrived."

Meanwhile, Latam officials have informed their passengers that "passengers travelling to and/or from Lima, including those connecting via Jorge Chavez International airport, between Friday November 18 and Monday 21 November, have the opportunity to either: i) modify their flight by up to 15 days from their original travel date, without fare difference or change fees, or ii) request a full refund."