Following the accident at Lima Airport in Peru on the afternoon of November 18, there is increasing disagreement as to how it happened. The right wing of a Latam Airbus A320 Neo with registration CC-BHB collided with a fire engine on the runway.
The plane caught fire, more than 30 people were injured on board, but no one died. However, two firefighters did not survive the accident.
Audio recordings from the airport control tower then showed that at the time of the accident the responsibilities in the control tower were apparently not clearly divided. A woman and two men can be heard on the recordings. The woman instructed the fire engine involved in the accident to wait ten minutes.
She did not give permission to drive onto the runway. At the same time, however, there was apparently a shift change in the tower. According to the recordings, a third person may have given permission.
But that’s not the only thing that causes confusion. The airport operator Lima Airport Partners, in which the German Fraport is also involved, announced that a planned fire brigade exercise was taking place.
The emergency services should practice and show that they can be at an accident site within three minutes. However, it is unclear where the exercise should take place.
The Corporación Peruana de Aeropuertos y Aviación Comercial (Corpac for short) responsible for the tower explained that the test was planned outside of the active operational areas. It was neither planned nor approved for vehicles to drive onto the runway.
Lima Airport Partners said the tower cleared the exercise at 3:10 p.m., one minute before the accident. A company representative disagreed with Corpac on the Punto Final TV show. “The approval issued by Corpac relates to the current runway,” said manager Rocio Espinoza.
According to Espinoza, there is no other place that would be suitable for the exercise. In the previous test in August, this was done without any problems. Lima Airport currently only has one runway, but a second one is currently being built
This article was written by Timo Nowack
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The original of this article “Dispute over fire drills after the A320 accident in Lima” comes from aeroTelegraph.