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Old 08-23-2005, 05:05 PM   #1  
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Default 737-200 crashes in Peru

Peru jet crashes in jungle, at least 40 dead
Wed Aug 24, 2005 12:16 AM BST

By Robin Emmott

LIMA, Peru (Reuters) - A Peruvian passenger plane crashed in heavy storms in Peru's northeastern jungle on Tuesday, killing at least 40 people, police said.

A spokesman for the state-run airline TANS said the Boeing 737-200 plane, which had a capacity of 120 passengers, made an emergency landing without its landing gear in the jungle town of Pucallpa, 785 km northeast of Lima.

It was not immediately clear if the plane was taking off or landing. It was due to fly to the northern jungle city of Iquitos.

"There are 40 cadavers that rescue teams are pulling from the wreckage. There could be more deaths, we assume some 60 people in total since we've rescued 20 injured persons," a police officer in Pucallpa told RPP radio.

Peru's Transport Minister, Jose Ortiz, said 93 passengers were on board the plane. TANS declined to comment.

"It's really a Dantesque scene," said police officer Arioso Obregon, referring to the apparent destruction the aircraft.

One witness, Tomas Ruiz, told RPP radio the plane was "totally destroyed."

"The plane made an emergency landing but without its landing gear," said firefighter Ilda Pineda. "The weather was really terrible, there was a fierce storm at the time," said a police officer in Pucallpa.

TANS, founded in the 1960s by the Peruvian air force to help serve remote jungle communities, started up as a commercial airline in 1998. It has around 30 percent of the local market.
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