CERRILLOS, CHILE – A C-130 Hercules transport aircraft of the Chilean Air Force disappeared from radar on Monday evening. The Hercules was on its way from the Chilean capital Santiago to a military base in Antarctica when radio contact was lost. There were 38 passengers on board.
The Fuerza Aérea de Chile (Chilean Air Force) reports that the aircraft lost radio contact around 6:15 PM (Local Time). The aircraft was en route to the military base President Eduardo Frei Montalva in Antarctica. The aircraft should have landed at the base around 7:17 PM.
According to the Chilean Air Force, there were 17 crew members and 21 other passengers on board on their way to perform ‘logistical support tasks’, such as repairing the floating oil pipeline that provides fuel for the base.
The Chilean Air Force declared a state of alert and mobilized a search and rescue team, after the plane lost contact. Chilean President Sebastián Piñera tweeted on Tuesday that he was monitoring the rescue operation with security officials in Cerrillos, Chile.
The Air Force announced in a statement that air and maritime authorities are still searching for the wreckage of the Hercules and potential survivors in the area of the plane’s last known location. Families of the passengers on board have been informed.
- According to a press release from the Chilean Air Force on Tuesday, Argentina, Uruguay, and the United States have joined the search effort.
- Two US satellites are being used to capture images of the location where the aircraft went missing.
- The Chilean Air Force had located debris on Wednesday – floating in the sea between Chili and Antarctica – believed to be from the C-130 cargo plane. The debris was found 30 km (19 miles) south of where radar lost contact with the plane, the Air Force said in a statement. The Chilean Air Force has recovered the parts and is now analizing it to determine if they belonged to the C-130 Hercules cargo plane.
(Head photo: USAF)