March 30, 1998 in Nation/World

Plane Carrying Flood Victims Crashes, Killing At Least 28

Compiled From Wire Services

A Peruvian air force plane carrying villagers stranded by flooding crashed into a shantytown in the northern city of Piura on Sunday, killing 28 people, President Alberto Fujimori said.

Fifteen people survived and seven were unaccounted for, Fujimori told reporters. Some passengers walked from the wreckage with minor injuries, he said.

The Russian-made Antonov military transport plane was carrying merchants stranded by El Nino-driven flooding from the city of Tumbes near the Ecuadorean border to Piura, 530 miles northwest of Lima, when it plummeted to Earth about 6 miles from Piura airport.

The pilot radioed the control tower in Piura to report that one engine had shut down and that he would try to land, Fujimori said.

The plane crashed nose first into a drainage channel in the shantytown, splitting into two pieces, he said. There were no reports of deaths on the ground.

The air force arranged the flight for the merchants after floods cut the highway between Tumbes and Piura, Fujimori said.

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