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Another plane crash over the Nazca lines in Peru

October 5, 2010
Note: when I’m not in the US or flying somewhere, my “second home” is in Cusco, Peru.

4 British tourists and 2 Peruvian pilots were killed Saturday in a light airplane crash in the vicinity of the famous Nazca lines south of Lima. The aircraft is reported as being a Cessna 185, registration OB-1808.

Aircraft crash site near Nasca, Peru

Aircraft crash site near Nasca, Peru

(foto Sky News)

Many tourists take scenic flights over the Nazca lines, as they can only be fully seen from the air. However, in recent years the safety record of flights over the Nazca lines has been dismal:

  • 7 people died in a February 2010 plane crash during a Nazca flight.
  • The plane that crashed in February 2010 had made an emergency landing on a highway in November 2008.
  • 5 French tourists died in an April 2008 plane crash near Nazca. (see commentary below)
  • In June 2010 a light aircraft was reported hijacked over the Nazca lines, and the pilots later turned up in unexplained circumstances in the Peruvian jungle city of Puerto Maldonado.

Stuart at en Peru had this commentary about the 2008 crash:

“In March of 2008, five French citizens were killed after mechanical failures caused their plane to crash. The aeroplane was operated by Aeroica (Aero Ica) which had its operations shut down. The company had lied to the press indicating that a passenger panicked and caused the crash. Later investigations found that the plane had no fuel on board – apparently part of a effort to cut costs by having the planes glide back with the engine turned off.”

I’ve never flown over the Nazca lines, but just casual observation would make me think the safety standards are not good. In some reports there’s talk of the aircraft gliding back to base with the engine purposely cut off to save fuel. I’ve also been told that aviation and technical expertise in Peru is scarce.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Kristin Stempf de Vargas permalink
    February 5, 2011 6:24 am

    Hi Ward

    I was wondering if you might be thinking of taking over and running a Flights over Nazca business? It would be good to have someone like you offering flights! Passengers would be less likely to die. I’ve flown the lines twice but never again – unless with Aero Welvaert!!!


  2. February 5, 2011 2:38 pm

    Haha! That’s not something I’d be interested in, but if you had a rich uncle, I’d consider starting a floatplane sightseeing business on lake Titicaca, or maybe opening a lodge in Manu and flying visitors from Cusco to Manu πŸ™‚

    Take care,

  3. Francesca permalink
    March 18, 2011 7:09 pm

    I am part of a tour coming to Peru. Four of us (2 couples both celebrating 25 yrs) are scheduled to arrive in Lima Sat 9 April for a tour that begins Sun 10 April. We have been trying to find a service where we can fly from and back to Lima to see the Nazca Lines and maybe do a ground tour.

    Can you say if this is possible and if it is…how much?


  4. Alison permalink
    May 8, 2011 3:00 pm

    Hi Ward,

    Thanks for posting this info.

    “had no fuel on board”! With this and another fatal accident in October 2010 it appears that safety is not their first priority. I think the Nazca lines would be an amazing sight but this info has made up my mind to forego the experience on my trip around Peru; it’s a great country with many other great things to see.


  5. May 10, 2011 4:45 pm

    Perhaps I should have written this a bit differently. I don’t mean to scare anyone who wants to take a Nazca flight with a reputable company. There are some certified operators (I believe AeroDiana is one of them) with nice airplanes and good crews. My frustration stems from the fact that there has been so little oversight by the DGAC in Lima.

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