Panicked passengers scramble for cover as plane hit by gunfire during takeoff

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Panicked passengers scramble for cover as plane hit by gunfire during takeoff
Panicked passengers scramble for cover as plane hit by gunfire during takeoff

Panicked passengers scrambled for cover as their plane was hit by a hail of gunfire from angry gangsters during takeoff in Mexico.

The attack on the Aeroméxico flight from the Culiacán International Airport in Sinaloa came after jailed drug kingpin Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman's son Ovidio Guzman was arrested following a shootout.

The 32-year-old - nicknamed 'El Raton' or The Rat - was detained in the city and flown to Mexico City on a military plane, reporters were told by Defence Minister Luis Cresencio Sandoval.

It came after a six-month sting due to Guzman's alleged involvement in running his father's operations since his extradition to the US in 2017.

His henchmen reacted by firing at the passenger jet, damaging its fuselage and hydraulic system.

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Panicked passengers scramble for cover as plane hit by gunfire during takeoffThe plane was damaged by bullets

The flight was also headed for the country's capital and was carrying men, women and children.

They lay on the ground before being evacuated from the aircraft as police moved in.

All the airlines flights to or from Culiacán, Los Mochis and Mazatlán were cancelled following the incident, while the Culiacán and Mazatlán International Airports were both closed.

Panicked passengers scramble for cover as plane hit by gunfire during takeoffOvidio Guzmán was arrested (Uncredited/AP/REX/Shutterstock)

Mexico City International Airport (AICM) remained open but warned passengers of cancellations on flights to Sinaloa.

The US embassy in Mexico also warned citizens not to travel to Sinaloa.

When a military plane - thought to be carrying arrested Guzman - touched down at AICM it was also met with a hail of bullets and had to takeoff again, according to a witness.

Panicked passengers scramble for cover as plane hit by gunfire during takeoffAn army convoy patrols the streets of Culiacan (Martin Urista/AP/REX/Shutterstock)

There was also further gunfire and arson in Culiacán.

The US had offered a reward of up to $5 million for information leading to Guzman's capture, accusing him of being a key player in the infamous Sinaloa cartel.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is preparing to welcome Biden next week for a North America leaders' summit.

Panicked passengers scramble for cover as plane hit by gunfire during takeoffPanicked plane passengers dived to the ground as gunfire rang out

'El Chapo' is serving a life prison sentence for trafficking hundreds of tons of drugs into the US over the course of 25 years.

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Ovidio Guzman and one of his brothers are accused of overseeing nearly a dozen methamphetamine labs in Sinaloa as well as conspiring to distribute cocaine and marijuana, according to the US State Department.

He also allegedly ordered the murders of informants and a Mexican singer who refused to perform at his wedding.

Ryan Merrifield

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