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Chile helicopter crash (2): former president dies

Sebastián Piñera had already had problems with his aircraft - VIDEO

The former President of Chile Sebastián Piñera, 74 years old, has died in an accident while he was on board his own helicopter Robinson R-44 Raven II (registration CC-PHP), which crashed in recent hours in Lake Ranco, in the south of the country. There were four people on board, three were rescued. The politician obtained his pilot's license in 2004. According to initial reports, he was unable to unfasten his seat belt and died from drowning.

According to an initial reconstruction of the accident, Piñera himself was at the controls of the helicopter. Immediately after take-off, for reasons still under investigation, the pilot lost control of the aircraft, which sank into the body of water in the Los Ríos region. Rescuers were alerted at 2:57pm yesterday afternoon. The rotary-wing aircraft was identified at a depth of 40 metres. A team of divers recovered the body of the former president from the bottom of the lake.

The R-44 Raven II aircraft has been in production since 2007. It is a very popular light helicopter (1134 kilograms), thanks to its easy maintenance. The structure is made of steel tubes with an aluminum monocoque. It has a maximum cruising speed of 202 km/h and a range of 550 kilometres. 

Piñera had been having problems with his helicopter. In 2007 he was fined for landing his aircraft in the Quellón stadium, where a sporting event was being held, something that was repeated in 2008 at the "Monumental of Chile" stadium where the Colo Colo football club trained. In 2011 he made an emergency landing on a highway, near Quilicura Bajo, after his Robinson 44 ran out of fuel.

See for details AVIONEWS

Below, the video:

Gic - 1256471

AVIONEWS - World Aeronautical Press Agency