When an Airbus A320 Neo and a fire engine collided on the runway at Lima Airport on November 18, the fire brigade was exercising. That is certain, even if the airport operator Lima Airport Partners and the Corporación Peruana de Aeropuertos y Aviación Comercial, which is responsible for the tower, are arguing about where the test should take place.

The Latam airline, which operates the crashed jet with the registration number CC-BHB, apparently had not received any information. “We were not informed of any drills,” said Latam’s Peru boss Manuel Van Oordt, according to the newspaper “La Republica”.

The head of the Comisión de Investigación de Accidentes de Aviación responsible for the investigation, Carlos Portocarrero, estimated that the A320 had reached a speed of around 250 kilometers per hour when the accident happened.

The right wing collided with the car, causing the jet to catch fire and killing two firefighters. According to the estimate, the vehicles were traveling at at least 100 kilometers per hour.

The head of the investigating agency was also asked by journalists if it was possible that the driver had lost control of the crashed vehicle. Portocarrero replied that investigations are being carried out in all directions and nothing is being ruled out.

Meanwhile, dealing with the pilots causes excitement. “La Republica” reports, citing a Latam cockpit crew union, that the pilots were arrested immediately after the accident and held by the criminal police for more than 24 hours. They were not allowed to contact their families.

The international cockpit crew association Ifalpa confirmed the determination of the cockpit crew and called it unacceptable.

“Detaining people who are already under severe psychological pressure as a result of an accident is extremely detrimental to flight safety and can only hamper investigations,” the Ifalpa said. It also represents a total disregard for international principles of a positive safety culture.

In addition, the arrest could make the public think “that the accident was due to the intentional actions of the flight crew and not to technical problems or a series of errors resulting from multiple factors,” Ifalpa said. She asked to avoid speculation and wait for the investigation.

This article was written by Timo Nowack

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The original for this article “Pilots arrested after Airbus accident, cockpit association is angry” comes from aeroTelegraph.