Analysis: LATAM Chile Airbus A320 collision at Lima Airport

LATAM Airlines Chile Arbus A320 shown destroyed on runway at LIM Airport.
Photo Credit: CIAA

The Peruvian aviation body CIAA has released its report into an accident which saw a LATAM Airlines Chile Airbus A320 collide with a fire rescue vehicle in Lima.

The fatal accident occurred on November 18 2022, at Jorge Chávez International Airport (LIM) in Lima, Peru, and involved a LATAM Chile Airbus A320, flight LPE2213, and a fire truck operated by the Rescue Vehicle R3 team.

The collision took place during the aircraft’s takeoff roll, leading to a series of catastrophic events that resulted in significant damage to the plane, loss of life, and a subsequent investigation by the Comisión de Investigación de Accidentes de Aviación (CIAA).

LATAM Airlines Chile – LIM Airport

On November 18, LATAM Chile flight LPE2213, an Airbus A320-200N registered CC-BHB, was en route to Juliaca, Peru, with 102 passengers and 6 crew on board and had commenced its takeoff roll on Runway 16L.

At 15:11 local time, the Airbus A320 was accelerating on the runway when a number of firefighting vehicles crossed the active runway ahead of the aircraft, whilst executing an Emergency Response Time (ETR) training exercise.


The flight crew of the Airbus A320 rejected the takeoff at high speed at approximately 125 knots, but were unable to avoid a collision with Rescue Vehicle R3.

The Collision and Fatalities

The collision between the aircraft and Rescue Vehicle R3 was so severe that it caused the right-hand engine of the A320 to detach from its mounting.

Subsequently, the right main landing gear assembly collapsed, causing the aircraft to veer towards the right, before coming to rest partially off RWY 16L, approximately 8300 feet down the runway.

A fire then erupted around the right-hand engine assembly which engulfed both the aircraft and the rescue vehicle.

The incident resulted in the tragic loss of two of the three Airfield Rescue personnel who were operating Rescue Vehicle R3, with a third firefighter who was on board the vehicle sustaining serious injuries.

LATAM cabin crew made a timely evacuation of the aircraft; 4 passengers received serious and 36 passengers received minor injuries as a result of the impact.

Damaged LATAM Airlines Chile Airbus A320 on runway at Lima Airport.
Images Source: Comisión de Investigación de Accidentes de Aviación (CIAA) Final Report

Extent of Damage

The incident inflicted substantial damage on both the aircraft and the rescue vehicle. The main damage descriptions include:

Right Engine: The engine separated abruptly and was destroyed, with evidence of high-energy impact on the right front side.

Right Engine Pylon: The pylon also separated due to the impact, sustaining substantial damage.

Right Wing: The right wing, including its skin, spar, ribs, aileron, and operating mechanisms, was substantially damaged by fire, impact, and friction with the runway.

Lower Belly Fairings: The lower panels of the belly fairings suffered extensive fire damage, starting from station FR40.

Rear Fuselage: The rear fuselage exhibited deformation, perforation, and damage due to fire exposure. Both sides showed damage at the height of the passenger windows from stations FR55 to FR64.

Right Main Landing Gear (MLG RH): The right main landing gear was substantially damaged, collapsing and embedding under the inner part of the right wing due to impact and friction with the runway.

The Cause

After a thorough investigation by CIAA, the cause of was found to be the entry of the Rescue Vehicle R3 onto the Lima Airport duty runway without a clearance from CORPAC Air Traffic Control.

A series of miscommunication events led up to the runway incursion by the fire vehicle.

Viewed broadly, the unauthorized vehicular entry into the active runway resulted from a lack of joint planning, poor coordination, and the failure to use communication and standardized phraseology as prescribed by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

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By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 5 Min Read
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