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An air force plane plunged into a Peruvian shantytown Sunday, killing 28 civilian passengers as it crashed into a drainage canal only yards from hundreds of homes, authorities said.

As many as 20 other passengers were injured in the crash, they said. Two townspeople were hurt by flying debris after the plane, with more than 50 people aboard, plummeted into the canal and split in two.

The pilot guided the plane over the populated area to crash-land in the channel running through the center of the shantytown, just outside the northern town of Piura.

The plane was ferrying civilians from towns in northern Peru to Piura, where storms driven by El Nino have triggered floods and mudslides.

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