One witness, Ernesto Munoz, told state television: "The plane appeared to lose power, made a sudden U-turn and fell down.
 
"There was violent fire when it crashed."
 
Police general Jorge Rojas told AP that the pilot had apparently maneouvred the plane away from houses in order to avert further casualties.
 
"The pilot did not have enough time for an emergency landing, but still had time to take the plane away from the residential area,'' he said.
 
The cause of the crash is under investigation.