Five tourists and two crew members died on Friday when their plane crashed while traveling to see Peru’s famous Nazca Lines, the transport ministry said.
The Cessna 207 single-engine plane of tourism company Aerosantos crashed shortly after takeoff from the small Maria Reiche airport in Nazca around noon, it said in a statement.
There were no survivors among the seven on board. The tourists were two Chileans and three Dutch, the Nazca civil defense office said.
Dozens of planes operate from Maria Reiche Airfield, ferrying tourists – mostly foreigners – over the Nazca Lines, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The legendary lines — one of Peru’s top tourist attractions — were carved into the desert floor about 220 miles (350 kilometers) south of Lima between 500 BC and 500 AD, according to UNESCO, and represent animals, plants, imaginary and geometric beings several kilometers long.
It is believed that they had a ritual astronomical function or served as a calendar. Most are only visible from the sky.
The Cessna crashed as it began its aerial tour of the site, falling to the side of a road, radio station RPP said.
The plane exploded on impact and burst into flames, leaving the charred bodies beyond recognition, said Canal N, which released video of the smoldering remains of the plane.
The cause of the crash will be investigated, the transport ministry said.
In October 2010, four British tourists and two Peruvian crew were killed when an AirNasca plane crashed over the lines.