Two men believed to be stowaways on a U.S.-bound flight from Ecuador died after falling from the aircraft on Monday.
Ecuador police said the pair, who El Comercio newspaper said were 25 and 30 years old, fell from the landing gear at Jose Joaquin de Olmedo airport in Guayaquil.
Police did not reveal the nationality or identities of the two men, but local media said it is believed they are Peruvian. Officials said they believe the pair likely fainted or were ejected after takeoff.
Local prosecutor Carlos Bustamante said the incident occurred around 9:20 a.m. when employees at the airport spotted three objects falling from the plane.
“As we approached, we saw two people – one on the runway and the other in the grass area,” he told El Comercio. “The first one had a pulse, but died minutes later. The other person had died.”
He said the third item that fell from the plane was a suitcase, which contained about $20 and clothes. No identification for the two men were found.
"What is known is that the plane came from Peru,” Bastamante told the newspaper. "From the characteristics of the citizens, they may come from Peru, and from here (from the flight) they would go to the United States, to New York.”
The Boeing 767-300, operated by Latam, returned to the airport, which was closed for approximately 90 minutes while the two bodies were removed from the runway.
The aircraft was later allowed to continue its scheduled flight, but it may be required to return to the South American country to assist with the investigation.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.