A Mexican commercial passenger jet was shot at by Mexican drug cartel members this week in the city of Culiacan as thousands of Mexican soldiers descended on the area to capture a drug kingpin.
Passengers onboard an Aeromexico flight were caught in the crossfire between the military and the Sinaloa drug cartel on Thursday as soldiers captured Ovidio Guzmán López, the son of notorious cartel leader Joaquín Guzmán Loera, also known as “El Chapo.”
“As we were accelerating for take-off, we heard gunshots very close to the plane, and that’s when we all threw ourselves to the floor,” said witness David Tellez.
#Culiacán 🚨 | Pasajeros de un vuelo de #Aeromexico vivieron momentos de terror cuando la aeronave recibió el impacto de una bala derivada de los enfrentamientos de hoy, evitando su despegue del aeropuerto. #ObservandoEnVivo 🔴 | @Noticierista pic.twitter.com/h062ysB0GD
— Los Noticieristas (@noticieristas) January 5, 2023
Aeromexico says that no one on the flight was injured by the bullets that hit the plane, which damaged the fuselage, the report said. Flights into the state of Sinaloa were canceled.
Tellez said that his family hid in the bathroom at the airport because of the chaos unfolding on the streets outside, as well as rumors that cartel members were in the airport.
“We prefer to stay at the airport until it’s safe to leave,” he said. “The city is worse. There is a lot of shooting and confusion.”
The massive military operation involved more than 3,500 troops because the last time that the Mexican military captured Ovidio Guzmán in 2019 they were forced to let him go after hundreds of heavily armed cartel gunmen flooded the city and threatened to murder families and overrun the soldiers.
Some videos showed Mexican military helicopters firing M134 miniguns, which can fire up to 6,000 rounds per minute, down onto the cartels during the day and night.
Narco-terrorists fired .50-caliber machine guns, which are powerful enough to down aircraft and take out light armored vehicles, at Mexican soldiers.
Ten soldiers were killed in addition to 19 members of the cartel with 35 soldiers sustaining gunshot injuries. Nearly two dozen cartel members were arrested, and numerous .50-caliber weapons were seized, along with dozens of rifles, and more than two dozen armored vehicles.
Sinaloa state authorities ordered the suspension of all activities and urged residents to stay inside their homes on Thursday as the military conducted its operation.