A small, twin-engine plane carrying American tourists back from a sightseeing trip crashed into a construction site on a college campus in Lima, narrowly missing classrooms but killing all 10 people aboard, officials said Saturday.
Airport officials said the pilot of the plane, which belonged to a small Peruvian airline called Aerocondor, radioed the control tower that he was having problems shortly before Friday’s crash in the capital’s San Miguel neighborhood, about three miles from the airport.
Several area residents said they heard the plane’s engines sputtering seconds before the crash.
Emerged From Thick Fog
“It was flying as if it were a truck without brakes,” said Jesus Tarazona, who was on the roof of his two-story home when he saw the plane emerge from a thick fog layer shortly before nightfall and smash into a nearby two-story building under construction at the University of San Martin de Porras.
The U.S. Embassy identified the American victims as John Howe, 81, and his wife Barbara, 72, of Hagerstown, Md.; Robert Fisher, 66, and his wife Ruth, 62, of Moorestown, N.J.; Dorothy Menzies, 77, and her daughter, Virginia Fennel, 48, of Hickory, N.C.; and Virginia Hall, 78, and her granddaughter, Mary Shuford, 28, also of Hickory, N.C.
The pilot and co-pilot, both Peruvians, also were killed.
Johan Leuridan, a university dean who was visiting the work site, was hit by falling bricks and hospitalized with a back injury. Police said all the workers at the site had left 15 minutes before the crash, but that two bystanders reportedly suffered minor injuries.
Hugo Monzon, general manager of Aerocondor, which provides air taxi service to small towns in Peru, said the plane was a British-made Britten-Norman Islander.
Aerocondor officials said the plane had been rented by the Trapcoa tourist agency and was returning to Lima after having flown over the famous Nazca lines, about 250 miles southeast of the capital. The Nazca lines are giant pre-Columbian drawings on the desert believed to represent a primitive calendar used for calculating planting and harvesting seasons.