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22nd Nov 2022

Couple take selfie after surviving disastrous plane crash

Steve Hopkins

‘Selfie of the year. Glad they are okay’

A couple has taken a selfie that almost no one will ever get the chance to – after surviving a plane crash.

Last Friday, at Jorge Chávez International airport in Lima, Peru, a firetruck crashed into a plane as it was taking off around 3.30pm local time.

Authorities are now investigating the incident that saw the back end of the plane burst into flames and two fire fighters lose their lives.

Firefighters, Angel Torres and Nicolas Santa Gadea, died after their ruck hit the LA2213 flight, but no passengers or crew aboard the plane were killed.

One lucky couple even managed to bag a selfie at the scene, with the damaged plane in the background, and what looks like phosphate spray used to extinguish fires on one of their faces.

Enrique Varsi-Rospigliosi, who is believed to be the man in the photo, tweeted the picture with the caption: “When life gives you a second chance #latam.”

The photo was also shared on the Facebook page A320 Systems, where people were quick to offer their condolences to those killed in the crash, with one person writing: “It’s very sad for the relatives of the firetruck. Perhaps the people in the picture weren’t aware of the fatalities or perhaps were just so relieved to have survived themselves. In the moment they maybe didn’t think it through and were saying to their own family they were ok. We who comment weren’t in the accident so can’t know their thinking.”

While another added: “This could have been a major disaster. Everyone on the plane is extremely fortunate. Sorry about the firefighters who perished in this accident. They put their lives at risk every single day to save others.”

Peru President Pedro Castillo shared his condolences on Twitter, writing: “I express my heartfelt condolences to the relatives of Ángel Torres and Nicolás Santa Gadea, brave firefighters who died in the accident. My thoughts and my prayers are with them. I pray for the recovery of the wounded.”

According to Lima Airport Partners, who operate the airport, the firetruck was on the runway as part of a drill that had been arranged when the incident occurred. “On Nov. 18, during the morning and until the beginning of the exercise, the firefighting team made all the necessary arrangements to execute the manoeuver.

“Control Tower (CORPAC) confirmed the start time 15:10, it being the time fixed for the beginning of the manoeuver, and the impact with the LATAM aircraft occurred at 15:11.”

The drill, however, did not include entry onto the runway.

Jorge Salinas, who’s on the board of directors for the Peruvian Corporation of Airports and Commercial Aviation confirmed the fire truck did not have “authorisation for the entry of any vehicle to the runway”.

“There is authorisation to carry out an exercise, but it is outside the areas that currently have transit operations,” he said.

Reuters reported that the prosecutor’s office are investigating the incident as potential manslaughter.

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