Chilean Air Force plane missing en route to Antarctica with 38 aboard

By Darryl Coote

Dec. 10 (UPI) -- Chilean authorities said search-and-rescue operations are underway for a Chilean Air Force plane that went missing en route to Antarctica with 38 people on board.

The Chilean military declared an alert and the Air Force activated a multidisciplinary search-and-rescue team Monday after officials lost radio contact with a C-130 Hercules aircraft at 6:13 p.m., the Air Force said in a statement.


The plane took off from Chabunco Air Base in the southern Chilean city of Punta Arenas at around 4:55 p.m. and was heading to President Eduardo Frei Montalva Antarctica Air Base with 17 crew and 21 passengers on board, it said.

The aircraft was transporting personnel to the base to perform "logistical support tasks," such as repairing a fuel supply pipeline and protecting national facilities in the area from corrosion, it said.

President Sebastian Pinera said via Twitter that authorities were monitoring the search-and-rescue operation.

Early Tuesday, the Air Force said national and foreign air and maritime authorities were at the area where the plane lost contact.

Families of those on board were being contacted to keep them informed of the situation, it said.


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