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Peru plane bursts into flames after landing

Peru has breathed a sigh of relief after an airplane caught fire shortly after landing. Several people were injured, but all on board managed to escape largely unscathed.

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Peru plane ablaze

The plane carrying 141 people burst into flames shortly after landing in the Peruvian town of Jauja.

A number of people sustained minor injuries, local media reported, but - with passengers able to disembark the place quickly - there were no fatalities.

The aircraft had apparently veered off the runway with a broken wing and was seen to rapidly become engulfed in flames and smoke.

Witnesses said the pilot had lost control of the plane in high winds, while another report said the blaze had been caused by an exploding tire.

However, Peruvian Interior Minister Carlos Basombrio said the fire had probably started when the plane's wing scraped the runway.

"The plane couldn't stop on the runway and they made a maneuver to stop it with the wing and that appears to have caused the fire," Basombrio told local broadcaster RPP.

The incident took place at about 5 p.m. local time (2200 UTC). The airplane, a  Boeing 737-300 operated by Peruvian Airlines, had been on a special flight from the capital, Lima, to Jauja, some 260 kilometers (160 miles) to the west.

The town, which lies in an agricultural valley in the Andes mountains, had been largely cut off for weeks, after some of the worst flooding in Peru in decades.

Boeing said it knew about the reports, and that it was gathering information on the incident.

rc/sms (dpa, Reuters)

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