The aircraft is a Hercules C130 with 38 crew and passengers that were traveling to Antarctica.
Flight plan of the wrecked Chilean military plane. / Photo: twitter.com/FACh_Chile
LatinAmerican Post | Marcela Peñaloza
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Leer en español: Esto se sabe del avión militar chileno desaparecido
Hercules C130 took off last Monday, December 9 at 4:55 p.m. (Chilean time) from the Chabunco Air Base in the city of Punta Arenas. The destination was the president Eduardo Frei Montalva airbase, located in Antarctica. The aircraft carried 38 passengers, among which were 17 crew members and 21 passengers; among the latter are 15 FACH (Chilean Air Force) officials, 3 army members, and 3 civilians.
In a statement, FACH said that the passengers were going to provide support in logistics, including “the revision of the floating fuel supply pipeline and the anticorrosive treatment of the facilities”.
Radio communications stopped transmitting at 18:13 when the plane was within an hour of arriving at its destination. After seven hours, the FACH, through a press release, declared the aircraft as damaged and stressed that the search continues "in order to rescue potential survivors." According to El País, "the Hercules has two rafts, it has an emergency location transmitter (ELT) and it traveled about 25,000 feet, as it usually does on the route."
The FACH also announced the list of passengers and made available to the families of the disappeared a "multidisciplinary group of professionals to support them in these difficult times."
Also read: Why do Chileans continue to protest?
Because of the situation, President Sebastián Piñera informed that he will not attend the possession of Alberto Fernández, president-elect of Argentina. According to Piñera, he contacted Fernández to notify him of his decision and through Twitter, he said that his "thoughts and prayers are with the relatives of the 38 crew members and passengers."
Mis pensamientos y oraciones están con los familiares de los 38 tripulantes y pasajeros del avion C-130 de la Fach.Acabo de hablar con Pdte electo de Argentina Alb Fernández para informarle q no podré asistir a cambio de mando hoy. Confirmó que pronto hará visita oficial a Chile.— Sebastian Piñera (@sebastianpinera) 10 de diciembre de 2019
Among the international aid that Chile has received in the search work, is that of Brazil. Piñera confirmed on his Twitter account that "with the help of many we are making all humanly possible efforts in the search tasks of the plane."
Acabo de hablar con Presidente @jairbolsonaro quien nos ofreció toda la ayuda de Brasil en las tareas de búsqueda del avión de @FACh_Chile. Con la ayuda de muchos estamos haciendo todos los esfuerzos humanamente posibles en las tareas de búsqueda del avión.— Sebastian Piñera (@sebastianpinera) 10 de diciembre de 2019
The tragedy of the plane adds to the difficult political and economic crisis that Chile is going through at the moment. Although different solutions have been proposed to the demands of the people, they have not stopped the protests. In fact, due to the excesses and abuses by the public force, the opponents seek to dismiss the president. Piñera and Andrés Chadwick, former Interior Minister, are accused as political leaders of the police and military abuses since the outbreak of the protests.