Absurd: Peru Arrested LATAM Pilots In A320neo Accident

Absurd: Peru Arrested LATAM Pilots In A320neo Accident

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As most of you have probably seen by now, on Friday a LATAM Airbus A320neo was involved in an accident while taking off from Lima Airport. The plane hit a fire truck on the runway at a high speed — while all passengers and crew managed to evacuate safely, unfortunately two fire fighters died in the collision, and one is critically injured.

There are a couple of further updates to this story, one of which is kind of shocking.

LATAM pilots were arrested after accident

The International Federation of Air Line Pilots’ Associations (IFALPA), which represents more than 100,000 pilots in nearly 100 countries, has released a statement regarding this incident. Specifically, IFALPA reports that the pilots of LATAM flight LA2213 were placed under arrest and held in custody following the accident.

They apparently spent roughly 24 hours in jail, and were only released on Saturday night. IFALPA is calling this situation “unacceptable.” Per the statement:

Holding individuals in custody who are already under intense psychological pressure due to an accident is extremely detrimental to flight safety and can only hinder the investigation. Further, it shows a complete disregard for the Positive Safety Culture principles laid out by Annexes 13 (Aircraft Accident and Incident Investigation) and 19 (Safety Management) to the Convention on International Civil Aviation. It may also lead the public to conclude that the accident resulted from the flight crew’s intentional acts, rather than technical issues or a string of errors originating from multiple factors.

In any similar circumstances, the flight crew should be provided immediate medical care and evaluation. In no circumstances is it appropriate to question them in the immediate aftermath of any accident or incident until they have been professionally evaluated by qualified medical personnel who can determine their mental and physical fitness to contribute accurate information to investigators.

Indeed, this is incredibly shocking and seems out of line. First of all, I can’t even imagine the mental torment that airline pilots deal with following an accident, regardless of whether or not they played any role in it happening.

Furthermore, conducting a full investigation can take months or even years, and you’re never going to know the details immediately following an accident. So while pilots have in the past sometimes faced charges when an accident was determined to be pilot error, this would be completely premature.

The fact that the pilots were arrested is even worse when you consider the details we know so far about the incident, which points to the pilots having done nothing wrong.

What we know about the cause of this accident

While accident investigations can take a long time, we already have quite a few confirmed details about the cause of this. How did it happen that both a LATAM Airbus A320neo and a fire truck were on the runway at the same time? The Peruvian Corporation of Commercial Airports and Aviation (CORPAC) has confirmed several details already:

  • It has been confirmed that the LATAM A320neo had takeoff permission
  • It has been confirmed that airport rescue services were doing a safety exercise
  • It has been confirmed that the airport rescue services didn’t have permission to cross the runway, and that the training exercise was supposed to be held off the runway

So while we’ll have to wait and learn what caused the fire truck to think it was okay to enter the runway, so far there’s nothing pointing to the pilots having been negligent. That makes it even worse that they had been placed under arrest after this accident.

Bottom line

On Friday, a LATAM Airbus A320neo collided with an airport fire truck during takeoff at Lima Airport. While all the passengers and crew managed to safely evacuate, tragically there were some fatalities in the fire truck.

It’s shocking to learn that the two LATAM pilots were arrested following the accident, and remained in custody for 24 hours. There’s nothing yet pointing to them having done anything wrong, and I can only imagine what their mental state must have been like following this accident. This seems unacceptable, and isn’t in line with international standards.

What do you make of Peru having arrested these LATAM pilots?

Conversations (17)
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  1. JorgeGeorge Paez Guest

    In a related feel good move for international relations, it was reported that the local fire fighters were handing out free "pigs in a blanket" to all survivors of the semi-horrific incident. Local fire chief A.N.U.S. Borat said:
    "Eh, biggie is no. Lose we more men from the diseases of the sex capers."
    Food gifts are real love testes."
    The local war lord who actually controls the region had only a brief statement: "pay bill who?"
    Film at 11.....

    1. FlyerDon Guest

      Yeah, it really is.

  2. NedsKid Member

    I unfortunately cannot say this surprises me in the least. In Peru and several other countries in the region, everyone involved gets arrested.

    When working for an airline that flew between the US and Peru, we had a crew have some sort of violation or misunderstanding with ATC on departure. About an hour later, police showed up and arrested our Station Manager. They let her go after about 24 hours. Maybe a holdover from...

    I unfortunately cannot say this surprises me in the least. In Peru and several other countries in the region, everyone involved gets arrested.

    When working for an airline that flew between the US and Peru, we had a crew have some sort of violation or misunderstanding with ATC on departure. About an hour later, police showed up and arrested our Station Manager. They let her go after about 24 hours. Maybe a holdover from how the government used to operate? I don't know.

  3. John Guest

    It is not uncommon in many countries for foreign pilots to be taken into custody following a fatal accident. The case that springs immediately to mind was the prosecution of a Singapore Airlines flight crew in Taiwan following a fatal 747 runway accident. This is a risk well known in the aviation legal community.

    1. Maryland Guest

      Remember it very well. Was flying EVA. Departure only hours before. Singapore was confused as to the correct runway. I remember flight to Taiwan was plagued by weather from a typhoon. Initially I thought it had to be weather. A reminder about assumptions.

  4. Luis Guest

    There is a video showing two firefighter trucks getting into the runway heading to the plane. When the first truck saw the plane comming, it tried to U turn instead of going off the runway. The landing gear hit the truck on the side. Any other decision would have avoided the crash.

  5. Eskimo Guest

    Sounds just like America. Pulling a George Floyd.

    We'll arrest you first, then excessively police you, then ignore you.

    1. IEatEakimos Guest

      How are you not banned? Every day another idiotic comment. Get a job. Then a life.

    2. Eskimo Guest

      You are referring to Elon Musk or Donald Trump?

      Both don't care of being banned, don't care about having a job, but both are living the life.
      What is ban? One bought the company. The other started a company.
      Either way, suckers like you lose, especially when you need to learn how to spell. Comeback when you make more than minimum wage. :)

    3. May Guest

      She thinks commenting on message boards from her mom’s basement is a job.

  6. Maryland Guest

    Perhaps the pilots had some very loud & salty comments when everyone was safely evacuated? I can only imagine the amount of adrenaline that was coursing in their bloodstream. And a whole lot of anger to realize this was supposed to be a safety exercise!

  7. Donna Diamond

    If your facts are correct, these pilots were heroic given that they kept the plane on the runway and were able to avoid mass casualties.

  8. DLPTATL Diamond

    Not sure if it's relevant here, but are pilots subject to having blood drawn for the possible presence of drugs or alcohol following an accident?

    Waiting for the results of such tests is the only conceivable reason in my mind to hold pilots after an accident; but it seems like they could have simply held their passports, particularly if there was no reason to suspect that they were impaired.

  9. Andy Diamond

    I think in Peru this is a legally defined standard procedure if you are involved in an accident with casualties. The fire truck drivers would also have been arrested if they had not died or been admitted to hospital in critical condition.

    1. vbscript2 Guest

      Legally-defined or not, it's absurd and should be ended immediately. This is counter-productive to any meaningful accident investigation and has no possible benefit whatsoever to anyone, except maybe saving face for local authorities when an accident happens that they caused.

  10. Icarus Guest

    Indeed, they need medical and psychological evaluation, not arrested without any evidence. Now they are likely to be more traumatised.

    I guess in some countries it’s guilty until proven innocent.

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vbscript2 Guest

Legally-defined or not, it's absurd and should be ended immediately. This is counter-productive to any meaningful accident investigation and has no possible benefit whatsoever to anyone, except maybe saving face for local authorities when an accident happens that they caused.

2
Indopithecus Guest

This is disgusting.

1
Luis Guest

There is a video showing two firefighter trucks getting into the runway heading to the plane. When the first truck saw the plane comming, it tried to U turn instead of going off the runway. The landing gear hit the truck on the side. Any other decision would have avoided the crash.

1
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