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Chile: looking for C-130 Air Force aircraft with 38 on board

Ships, planes and satellites: joint international research effort

There are 11 aircraft and 4 ships (two commercial and two of the national Navy, plus airplanes from Chile, Uruguay and Argentina) engaged in a joint international effort, in the search for a C-130 Hercules under the Grupo de Aviación Nº 10 of the Chilean Air Force, missing yesterday at 4:55pm local time from the radar screens with 38 people on board after taking off from the city of Punta Arenas, towards the Antarctic air base "President Eduardo Frei Montalva". Of the boarders, 17 were crewmembers, and 21 passengers, as reported by the same Air Force.

The research, also with the help of satellite, was concentrated in the area where the radio contact was interrupted, called "Drake's Passage", known for its adverse weather conditions. The aircraft was carrying out logistical support tasks, transferring the personnel assigned to the overhaul of the floating fuel supply pipeline, and to the anti-corrosion treatment of the outpost structures.

The Chilean President Sebastián Piñera to better follow the facts announced he had given up going to Buenos Aires today, where he would attend the installation of Argentine President Alberto Fernandez. While to closely coordinate the search operations, and to rescue any survivors either Defense Minister Alberto Otero Espina who headed the General National Air Force Arturo Merino Núñez, went to the military base at Punta Arenas airport, in the Magallanes region. Also today, the same authorities, after making contact with family members, have released the official list with the names of the 17 crewmembers and 21 passengers: all military personnel of the Fuerza Aérea de Chile, with the exception of 3 civilians.

It has now been ascertained that the aircraft crashed: if not at the time of the interruption of the contacts, the accident may have occurred up to eight hours later when, according to the authorities, the aircraft would have run out of fuel.

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AVIONEWS - World Aeronautical Press Agency