LIMA Ė The armed forces found the wreckage of a suspected drug smuggling plane from Bolivia that crashed while trying to land on a clandestine strip in the Peruvian jungle, army Gen. Cesar Astudillo said Sunday.
The accident occurred on Saturday near Puerto Ene, a town in southern Peruís Valley of the Apurimac, Ene and Mantaro Rivers, or VRAEM, where about half of the countryís illegal coca crops are grown, Astudillo told Radio Programas del Peru, or RPP.
Residents assisted the planeís crew, who fled before the armed forces arrived at the accident scene in a helicopter, the army general said.
The plane lost a wing and security forces members took the aircraft to the VRAEM Special Commandís base in Pichari.
Investigators found a GPS system and radio equipment inside the plane that will help them as they work the case, Astudillo said.
The Shining Path guerrilla groupís remnants operate in the rough terrain of the VRAEM, an area that has been under a continuous state of emergency due to its status as one of Peruís largest illegal coca-growing regions.
An estimated 18,845 hectares (46,530 acres) were planted with coca, the raw material for cocaine, in the region at the end of 2014, the United Nations said in a report.
The Maoist-inspired Shining Path launched its uprising on May 17, 1980, with an attack on Chuschi, a small town in Ayacucho province.
A truth commission appointed by former President Alejandro Toledo blamed the Shining Path for most of the nearly 70,000 deaths the panel ascribed to politically motivated violence during the two decades following the groupís 1980 uprising.
The guerrilla group, according to commission estimates, also caused an estimated $25 billion in economic losses.