Nazca lines tourist plane makes emergency landing alongside Peru Pan-American Highway

A three-passenger lightweight aircraft was unexpectedly struck by mechanical problems and forced to make an emergency landing on a level surfaced field alongside Peru’s Pan-American Highway, reported Nazca police. The news, which comes on the heels of a Nazca lines plane crash that claimed five lives last April, was widely reported in Peru’s dailies over the weekend.

The plane, registered to the Wings of American Corporation, made an emergency landing at 13:00 local time Friday. The three Brazilian tourists on board and the pilot were unharmed, state news agency Andina reported.

Though preliminary reports pointed to mechanical problems, the pilot, Raúl De la Gala, flew his aircraft off the ground a few minutes after the catastrophe landing to return to the María Reiche airfield in the small desert town of Nazca, according to the Aeronoticias Web page.

Last April, five French tourists died after the small tourist plane carrying them crashed after becoming tangled in power lines.

Since their discovery by American scientist Paul Kosok in 1939, the Nazca lines on Peru’s rocky Pampa San José have mystified scholars and astounded tourists.

Originally considered to be the vestiges of irrigation lines beyond the lush Nazca valley, the hundreds of figures – ranging in complexity from simple lines to stylized marine animal figures and birds including a hummingbird, pelican and condor – are now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most popular tourist destinations in Peru.

However, as only the lizard, hands and the tree figures can be seen from the a viewing platform located adjacent to the Pan-American Highway, hundreds of planes fly over the lines from dawn to dusk every day.

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