A Latam Airlines plane collided with a fire engine on its runway as it took off, killing two firefighters in Lima, Peru on Friday.
Angel Torres and Nicolas Santa Gadea died when Latam flight LA2213 crashed into a fire truck.
Peru’s health ministry said two passengers were hospitalized in serious condition and 20 were being treated. No crew members or passengers died, the official statement said.
Authorities are now investigating the accident as a possible homicide. It remains unclear why the fire truck was on the runway, local reports said.
The crash occurred at approximately 3:30 p.m. local time at Jorge Chavez International Airport in Lima, Peru. The flight, LA2213 — an Airbus A320 — was bound for Juliaca Inca Manco Capac International Airport from Lima, airline officials said.
Latam CEO Manuel Van Oordt told media that the flight had been cleared for takeoff. “We don’t know why [the fire truck] was there. We did not ask for their services.”
Meanwhile, Peruvian President Pedro Castillo offered his condolences to the families of the two firefighters who died in the crash.
He wrote on Twitter: “My deepest condolences to the families of Angel Torres and Nicolas Santa Gadea, brave firefighters who lost their lives in the accident. My thoughts and prayers are with them. I pray for the recovery of the injured.”
Following the devastating collision, operations at Peru’s Jorge Chavez Airport were suspended until Saturday afternoon.
Lima Airport Partners, which manages Jorge Chavez Airport, said that “we are currently finding and investigating all the necessary factors that could determine the cause of this.”
Videos on social media showed the plane coming to an abrupt stop after the crash as plumes of smoke and high flames could be seen rising from the aircraft.
Passengers waiting at the airport for other planes described the “shocking” footage as the crash took place.
Reuters quoted one person, Mauro Ferreira, who was waiting to board a flight to Panama, as saying that “everyone in the departure lounge was scared until we saw the plane stop and then the fire engines and ambulances arrived.”
Meanwhile, Latam officials informed their passengers that “passengers traveling to and/or from Lima, including those connecting through Jorge Chavez International Airport, from Friday, November 18 to Monday, November 21, have the opportunity to either: i) change their flight up to 15 days from their original travel date, without fare difference or change fees, or ii) request a full refund.”