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Dublin: 10°C Wednesday 21 October 2020
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Chilean military plane 'disappears' with 38 passengers on board

The C-130 Hercules carried 17 crew members and 21 passengers.

C-130 Plane (File Photo)
C-130 Plane (File Photo)
Image: Shutterstock/Sascha Hahn

A PLANE CARRYING 38 people has disappeared on its way to Chile’s air force base in Antarctica, authorities have said. 

The military said that it had declared an alert and activated search and rescue teams after the plane lost contact with operators yesterday evening. 

The C-130 Hercules carried 17 crew members and 21 passengers, including three civilians. The personnel were to check on a floating fuel supply line and other equipment at the Chilean base.

President Sebastián Piñera said via Twitter that he was with his defense and interior ministers at the air force headquarters monitoring developments.

In a statement this morning, the air force said the plane had not been heard from in more than seven hours and likely would have run out of fuel around 12:40am. 

The air force “continues the search in the sector where communication with the aircraft was lost, in order to rescue potential survivors,” the statement said.

The plane took off at 4:53pm local time from the southern city of Punta Arenas, which is more than 3,000 kilometers from the capital of Santiago. Contact was lost at 6:13 p.m., the initial announcement said.

Drake’s Passage, where the plane was missing, is infamous for severe weather conditions, including freezing temperatures and ferocious storms. But the air force said that the weather was good when the plane began its flight, or the mission would not have been carried out.

Gen. Eduardo Mosqueira of the Fourth Air Brigade told local media that a search was underway and a ship was in the general area where the plane should have been when contact was lost.

Mosqueira said the aircraft would have been about halfway to the Antarctic base when it lost contact. No emergency signals had been activated, he said.

He said the plane, whose pilot had extensive experience, had been scheduled to return Monday night.

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Associated Press

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