Survivors of a crash between an airplane and a firetruck have caused outrage after taking a selfie.
Two passengers, still covered in firefighting foam, smiled for the camera and shared the snap online with the caption: “When life gives you a second chance #latam”.
While the plane’s crew and passengers all survived, what they didn’t know was that two of the firefighters in the truck that collided with the plane at Peru’s Jorge Chavez International Airport had died.
— Enrique Varsi-Rospigliosi (@enriquevarsi) November 18, 2022
In light of this, the passengers sparked outrage online for smiling in the wake of the tragedy.
“I’ve seen it all now. Crash selfie. End of the internet,” one person tweeted.
“Nothing to be proud of, firefighters died,” another wrote in a popular aviation group on Facebook.
“Two firefighters die but sure, take a selfie and laugh,” a third commented.
Others shared memes criticising the photo, with one Twitter user sharing a photo of a woman posing in front of a wildfire and the caption, “Same vibes!”.
Cuando te convertis en un meme de 9gag pic.twitter.com/br7L8fdXIG
— 𝕸𝖆𝖚𝖗𝖔 𝕳. 𝕷. (@mxmauro) November 19, 2022
— Alderson (@0Dweller) November 18, 2022
But, some came to the defence of the passengers, noting that they would also be happy if they had walked away from a crash unscathed.
“I mean it is selfie of the year … they walked away from that,” one wrote.
“I get it, they are happy they are alive,” another said. “People are just taking it the wrong way and getting offended for anything these days.
“Think about it, you realised you’ve just survived an aeroplane crash, then suddenly it catches fire, and on top of it you are able to walk away from it unscratched? I’d be the happiest and most thankful person alive!”
A third noted that at the time very few people would have known there had been fatalities resulting from the crash, particularly if they were on the plane.
“In the moment they took the picture, only a few people knew that two firefighters had died. They thought it was a problem with the aeroplane,” they explained.
“Media took, at least, an hour and a half to report what really happened. Even firefighters from Lima didn’t know for the first hour. They just felt thankful for being alive.”
It also seems that the critics are in the minority, with the original post receiving more than 200,000 likes since it was posted on November 19, a day after the crash.
None of the 102 passengers or crew on-board the LATAM Airbus 280 at the time lost their lives in the incident, the cause of which is currently being investigated according to Jorge Chavez International Airport.
Footage taken by witnesses showed the plane taking off from the runway at full speed before colliding with the truck, also travelling at speed.
With damaged landing gear, the plane continued moving forward with its right side dragging along the runway and sending up a trail of sparks.
— 2023 VUELVO (@himselfsv) November 18, 2022
When it stopped, the rear of the plane was badly burned and a cloud of smoke escaped the aircraft.
According to security official Aurelio Orellana, a rescuer in the truck was also injured during the incident and is “in critical condition due to head trauma”.
Manuel van Oordt, the general manager of LATAM Peru, said he was surprised the firefighters were on the runway to begin with, given that the plane’s pilot hadn’t reported any anomalies.
“No emergency was reported in the flight, it was a flight that was in optimal conditions to take off, he had permission to take off, and he found a truck on the runway and we do not know what this truck was doing there,” he said at a press conference.
This article first appeared on OverSixty.