LIMA, Nov. 18 (Reuters) – A LATAM Airlines (LTM.SN) jet collided with a fire engine on the runway on Friday as it took off from the airport in Peru’s capital, Lima, killing two firefighters to as a result, the airline said. .
Peru’s health ministry said at 19:00 (0000 GMT) that 20 passengers were being treated at a clinic and at least two were in serious condition. The airline said no passengers or crew were killed.
The ministry said 61 people were transferred from Jorge Chavez International Airport to nearby clinics and hospitals. It was not clear whether this was due to injury or precaution.
President Pedro Castillo extended his condolences to the families of the two firefighters in a statement on Twitter, saying he was praying for the recovery of the injured.
It was unclear why the fire engine entered the runway while the plane was taking off. The prosecutor’s office said it is investigating the incident as possible homicide.
This is the second incident in less than a month involving LATAM Airlines, after the nose of one of its planes was destroyed in a severe storm that forced it to make an emergency landing.
The Peruvian affiliate of LATAM Airlines from Chile said it is using all its resources to assist those affected and to cooperate with authorities to support the investigation.
Video posted to social media showed the plane colliding with the fire truck as it hurtled down the runway, then caught fire quickly and smoked heavily as it came to a stop.
“Everyone in the departure hall was worried until we saw the plane stop and then the fire engines and ambulances arrived,” said Mauro Ferreira, a Brazilian waiting to board a flight home to Panama, who filmed the incident.
“It was a harrowing feeling because we didn’t know how many people were on the plane and the flames were very high.”
Lima Airport Partners, which operates Jorge Chavez, Peru’s main airport, said the airport will remain closed at least until 1pm (6pm GMT) on Saturday.
The flight was LA2213 and covered the Lima-Juliaca domestic route, LATAM Airlines said.
Report by Marco Aquino in Lima; Additional reporting by Fabian Cambero in Santiago, Marcelo Rochabrun in Lima, Carolina Pulice in Mexico City, and Nur-Azna Sanusi in Singapore; Edited by Anthony Esposito, Rosalba O’Brien, Matthew Lewis and William Mallard
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