A frightening situation affected passengers on Aeromexico flight AM165 on Thursday morning in the town of Culiacán, close to the coast of the Pacific Ocean. The Embraer E190 jet, registration XA-ALW, was preparing to take off when shots were heard.
Video recorded from inside the cabin shows passengers on the floor of the aircraft, trying to protect themselves. There were no injuries, but Aeromexico admitted that the Embraer plane was hit by gunfire.
Another external recording shows the E190 jet moving at high speed and then stopping and returning to the passenger terminal, while numerous police officers try to protect themselves from the repeated shots.
According to reports, a Boeing 737 from the Mexican Air Force had landed shortly before as more gunfire took place. Images on social networks show a hole in the tail of the aircraft, but there was no way to confirm whether it was the XA-ALW jet.
The footage from outside showing the AeroMexico plane taxiing whilst gunfire is heard. pic.twitter.com/CIOqsyDIwm
— CNW (@ConflictsW) January 5, 2023
According to a statement from Aeromexico, “the plane never started the takeoff run. After this incident, the company’s protocols were activated and an alert was sent to the corresponding authorities, with whom we coordinate the investigations. Customers and employees are safe.”
The airport was closed after the episode and remained with canceled flights this Friday.
Drug cartel boss arrested
Culiácan is known for being the home of drug lord El Chapo, who was the leader of a drug cartel in the region until he was arrested and extradited to the United States in 2017.
Hours before the incident at the airport, the drug lord’s son, Ovidio Guzman, who took control of the cartel, was arrested, triggering a wave of violence in the city. US President Joe Biden is about to land in Mexico for an official visit.
Some witnesses reported that a pickup truck with armed men fired shots towards the runway, but the information could not be confirmed.
Aeromexico has a fleet of 42 E190s, which are operated by subsidiary Aerolitoral as Aeromexico Connect.