Two men thought to have been stowaways on a flight to the US from Ecuador have died after they fell from the aircraft.

The pair, who are thought to be 25 and 30 years old, were on a plane bound for New York from the coastal city of Guayaquil in Ecuador.

Local prosecutor Carlos Bustamante told newspaper El Comercio the incident occurred around 9:20 am on Monday (26 February) when airport workers spotted three objects falling from a commercial flight.

Bustamante said as one of the workers approached he "saw two people – one on the runway and the other in the grass area. The first one had a pulse, but died minutes later. The other person had died."

The prosecutor added the third object was a suitcase, which contained clothes and approximately $20 (£14). No identification for the men was found on their bodies, or in the suitcase.

Bastamante said: "What is known is that the plane came from Peru. 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."

Police general Marcelo Tobar added: "Two people got into the landing gear and as the plane took off the system either ejected them or they lost heart and let go."

The emergency services removed the pair of bodies at 10.23am, and the Jose Joaquin de Olmedo airport was closed for 90 minutes before resuming normal services.

The Boeing 767-300, operated by Chilean airline Latam, was forced to return to the airport, but was later allowed to continue its journey.