Chile’s air force lost radio contact with a four-engine C-130 Hercules transport aircraft carrying 38 people on a ﬂight Monday evening to the country’s base in Antarctica.
The plane was about 450 miles (725km) into its 770-mile journey, near the Drake Passage. Those missing include 17 crew and 21 passengers. A search-and-rescue mission is under way. Air Force Gen Francisco Torres said that the search for the plane had “begun immediately” after it had failed to arrive. Uruguay and Argentina have also each sent a plane to help. Gen Eduardo Mosqueira told local media that the plane did not activate any distress signal. It’s believed the plane might have been forced to touch down on water. Chile’s air force said local weather was good at the time of the plane’s disappearance.
A C-130 Hercules aircraft
President Sebastián Piñera said in a tweet that he was “dismayed by the loss.” He cancelled his planned trip to Argentina and went to Cerrillos Air Base in the capital, Santiago, to monitor the search, along with Interior Minister Gonzalo Blumel. The plane is presumed to have crashed, given that the amount of fuel and the plane’s autonomy had already run out. Air and maritime authorities are still searching for survivors. Search efforts will continue for six days, and possibly extend over 10 days. The C-130 is considered a workhorse of modern militaries around the globe.