Chilean Military Plane Crashes in Pacific, Killing at Least 4

A Chilean military plane carrying businessmen, troops and journalists crashed off the remote Juan Fernandez islands in the South Pacific Ocean, killing at least four of the 21 on board, the Andean country’s armed forces said.

Rescuers and fishermen found the bodies of two men and two women, along with luggage and some aircraft wreckage debris on Saturday after the turboprop-powered CASA 212 lost contact with a local airport’s control tower.

“It seems like a violent accident that didn’t leave anyone alive,” said Maximiliano Larraechea, secretary general of the Chilean air force.

Among those onboard were five TVN national television staff members – including popular Chilean TV host Felipe Camiroaga – who were planning to film a report about reconstruction on the islands after after being hit by a tsunami following a huge February 2010 earthquake.

According to officials, the plane tried twice to land on the main island’s one kilometer-long airstrip before it went missing as heavy crosswinds and sporadic rains hit the area.

Despite the bleak outlook, Chilean President Sebastian Pinera said the government is doing everything it can to find the plane.

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“We haven’t lost hope of finding survivors, but the circumstances of the accident were very serious,” Pinera told reporters in Santiago. “I don’t want to create false expectations. The outlook isn’t favorable.”

A statement from aviation authorities said the air force plane took off from Chile’s capital, Santiago, at 2pm local time and lost contact with air control almost four hours later.

“It’s a difficult runway, but not impossible,” Julio Subercaseaux, president of Chile’s federal aviation authority, told state television.

via CBC news