Plane bursts into flames on runway during takeoff

An airplane crashed into a fire truck at Peru’s busiest airport while taking off, killing two firefighters.

Latam Airlines’ plane collided with a truck at Jorge Chávez International Airport in Lima at 15:30 on Friday.

As the plane careered down the runway, it caught fire and smoked as it ground to a halt.

The airline said on Twitter that no passengers or crew members were killed.

According to an executive director of the hospital agency EsSalud, a 31-year-old firefighter is in critical condition.

A total of 20 passengers are being treated for injuries, of which two are considered serious, according to the Health Ministry of Peru.

The reason for the fire truck entering the runway while the plane was taking off for Juliaca remains unclear.

The flight has been cleared for takeoff, Latam CEO Manuel Van Oordt announced during a news conference.

“We don’t know why [the fire truck] was there,” he said. “We didn’t ask for their services.”

According to Reuters, the prosecutors’ office is investigating the incident as potential manslaughter.

At Jorge Chávez Airport, flights have been suspended by Lima Airport Partners (LAP) until Saturday afternoon.

It has been decided to divert international flights to Colombia, Panama, and various Peruvian cities such as Iquitos, Pisco, and Arequipa, instead.

A statement issued by LAP said: “At this moment we are finding and investigating all the necessary factors that could determine the cause of this.”

A social media tribute was paid to the firefighters by President Pedro Castillo.

“I express my heartfelt condolences to the relatives of Ángel Torres and Nicolás Santa Gadea, brave firefighters who died in the accident,” he tweeted.

“My thoughts and my prayers are with them. I pray for the recovery of the wounded.”