Missing Chilean Plane
By Matthew Ibarreta
On Monday evening a Chilean Air Force cargo plane went missing with 38 people on board, after hearing this report the capital of Chile sent a wave of search and rescue operations to find the missing plane, its contents, and passengers. The plane was a C-130 Hercules bound for Antarctica. On board were 17 crew members and 21 passengers. All of them disappeared without a trace. The Chilean’s Air Force says this about the details of the Hercules mission, “It was carrying 17 crew members and 21 passengers on a maintenance mission to the
Presidente Eduardo Frei Montalva base, a key Chilean outpost on King George Island, off the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula.” The plane made its last radio contact at 6:13 pm. The Chile government said that they would take finding this plane very seriously and put it at one of their top priorities. Both the Uruguay and Argentine Air Forces contributed c-130’s to help the search party team to find the missing plane, while the United States has provided the Chilean Government two orbits worth of satellite images. Then, the Chilean air force stated by midnight that the plane had crashed because there would be no more fuel in the aircraft left.
“The plane probably crashed 294 miles North of Antarctica in the middle of Drake passage.” says General Arturo Merino. The Drake passage connects the South Atlantic and South Pacific oceans. It connects the Southern tip of South America and the Antarctic Peninsula causing it to have some of the worst weather and piercing cold temperatures. “The plane left the Air base in Punta Arenas at 4:55 pm, starting a 770 mile long trek to the Arctic and reported its last position an hour and a half after take off.” says the Airforce in a statement. They have said they plan to launch a full scale investigation into how exactly the plane crashed. For reference in 2011 a CASA 212 registered to the Chile Air Force crashed into the sea when trying to land on Robinson Crusoe Island. They say the aircraft “Practically disintegrate upon impact with the water killing everyone on board.”
As of December 12 they have located the wreckage of the Chilean plane, and the human remains of the 38 passengers. Arturo Merino head of the Chilean Air Force announced, “There were no survivors.” and also said the human remains are most likely to “be body parts of those traveling on the C-130.” Arturo Also added "The condition of the remains we discovered make it practically impossible that anyone could have survived the plane accident.” Pieces of the wreckage have been found and the Chilean Airforce says they are expecting to find more soon. A wheel from the planes landing gear has been found and multiple personal items have been picked up by Chilean Navy ships passing through. Unfortunately, the families that had been waiting to hear news of their loved ones safe return, were ultimately let down.