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  • After seven hours of its disappearance, the Air Force declared that the plane was declared as damaged and ratified that it will continue with the search work.

    After seven hours of its disappearance, the Air Force declared that the plane was declared as damaged and ratified that it will continue with the search work. | Photo: FACh_Chile

Published 10 December 2019
Opinion

The authorities declared a state of alert for the loss of communication with the aircraft, which carried 38 people on board at the time of its disappearance.

A Chilean military plane disappeared on Monday after leaving the city of Punta Arenas (southern tip of Chile ). According to the Chilean authorities, the aircraft was bound for a base in Antarctica before the loss of communication.

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The authorities declared a state of alert after the loss of communication with the C130 Hercules aircraft, which contained 38 people on board; this resulted in the Chilean military beginning a search-and-rescue operation.

Subsequently, the Chilean Air Force said that the plane was declared as damaged and ratified that it will continue its search work.

Given this situation, Alberto Espina Otero, defense minister of the South American country, stressed that no effort will be spared to find the missing plane.

The plane took off at 4:55 P.M. (local time) and lost radio contact at 6:13 P.M. after leaving Chabunco Air Base. On board the aircraft were 17 crew members and 21 passengers.

The aircraft planned to carry out logistical support tasks by transferring personnel for the revision of the pipeline that supplies fuel to the President Eduardo Frei Montalva Antarctic Air Base. 

The crash comes at a turbulent time for Chile and President Sebastian Pinera, who has been grappling with rising discontent that has sparked almost two months of riots in capital city Santiago and heaped pressure on his government.

"My thoughts and prayers are with the families of the 38 crew members and passengers of the FACh (Air Force) C-130 plane," Pinera wrote on Twitter on Tuesday.

The president added that he would cancel a planned trip to Argentina, where he had been expected to attend the Tuesday inauguration of incoming President Alberto Fernandez.

The region where the plane disappeared is a vast, largely untouched ocean wilderness of penguin-inhabited ice sheets off the edge of the South American continent.

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