Two men believed to have been stowaways hiding in a landing gear of a US-bound flight from Ecuador have died after falling from the aircraft.
The Jose Joaquin de Olmedo airport in the coastal city Guayaquil had to be closed for about one hour and a half as their bodies were removed from the runway.
Airport employees spotted three objects falling from the plane as it took off and officials think the two men either fainted or were ejected.
According to El Comercio newspaper, the two stowaways, 25 and 30 years old, were on a plane bound for New York from Guayaquil in Ecuador.
Police general Marcelo Tobar said: “Two people got into the landing gear and as the plane took off the system either ejected them or they lost heart and let go.”
“As we approached, we saw two people – one on the runway and the other in the grass area. The first one had a pulse but died minutes later. The other person had died,” local prosecutor Carlos Bustamante told local newspaper, El Comercio.
“What is known is that the plane came from Peru. From the characteristics of the citizens, they may come from Peru, and from here they would go to the United States, to New York”, Bustamante added.
The third object that was seen falling from the plane was a suitcase containing clothes and about $20 cash.
The Latam Boeing 767-300 plane bound for New York returned to the airport soon after takeoff but was later cleared to continue its flight.
The possibility that other stowaways may have managed to remain smuggled on board was not ruled out by the authorities, Sky News reported.