The fire practice on Friday, November 18, was expected to be identical to the one that took place on Wednesday, August 17 of this year. That is, at the appointed time, the firemen They leave the new barracks, take the alternate runway, turn to the right and enter the airstrip. That was what the firefighters Nicolás Santa Gadea, Ángel Torres García and Manuel Villanueva Alarcón did, in the exercise on August 17, when there were no aircraft.. But on November 18, on the runway was a plane from Latam which had started the takeoff operation.
Sources related to the investigation of the accident informed La República that the driver of the fire-fighting vehicle received the go-ahead from the control tower to start the exercise which consisted of measuring the time the truck took from the moment the emergency call was received until it reached the landing strip. From the position of Jorge Chávez’s controllers, they have 360° control of the runway and the movement of aircraft. However, “they didn’t stop the firefighters, they let them continue with the exercise.”
The president of the Peruvian Corporation of Commercial Aviation and Airports (Corpac), Jorge Salinas, told the Transportation Commission of Congress that the firefighters should have warned that they would enter the runway.
But the sources consulted indicated that Corpac I was perfectly familiar with the route of the firefighters, not only because it was the same one that was done on August 17, but also because it was communicated and approved on November 17, and reported two more times on the same November 18.
“Unlike the practice on August 17, the one on November 18 would have the presence of a passenger plane on the runway, the controllers knew that. They are the ones who handle that information, not the firefighters,” specified the sources of this newspaper related to the investigations of the accident in the Jorge Chavez airport.
“Corpac says that the firefighters should have requested a specific authorization to enter the runway when an aircraft was in it. But they did not do it because they did not know that they would meet the plane of Latam taking off,” the sources added.
During the first visual inspection in the collision zone, the experts noticed that the fire vehicle made a detour before entering the runway. Apparently, It was a failed attempt by the truck driver, Nicolás Santa Gadea, to avoid a head-on collision with the Latam plane.
“It seems that the driver tried to brake, because he invaded a stretch of land before colliding with the plane, which would indicate that the control tower did not give him notice,” the sources explained.
One more fact that I would pay in the sense that the firefighters were unaware that the aircraft would be on the runway during firefighting practice. As indicated, in the previous exercise, on August 17, there were no aircraft.
The accident at Jorge Chávez airport it has become a bidding of conflicting versions. Corpac has implied that firefighters from Lima Airport Partners (LAP) caused the disaster because they entered the airstrip without requiring specific authorization.
While LAP argues that Corpac controllers should have warned the firefighters that a Latam plane would be on the runway during the exercise.
Along the same lines, the affected airline has indicated that no one informed it that a firefighting practice would be carried out during the takeoff of the flight to Juliaca, Puno.
The president of Corpac announced that it will deliver audio files to the Air Accident Investigation Commission (CIAA) that would prove that the firefighters did not request permission to enter the runway. LAP It will also provide information that would demonstrate that the controllers did not notify that a Latam aircraft would appear at the time they authorized the exercise. And that if they had known, the firefighters could have aborted the practice to avoid the collision.
Notice 1. At 3:05 pm, the controllers confirmed to the firefighters the authorization to carry out the practice.
Notice 2. At 3:10 pm, the controllers ratified the go-ahead for compliance with the fire drill.