December 19, 2018
JET MYSTERY: Plane carrying 38 passengers VANISHES en route from Chile to Antarctica without activating emergency signal
December 10, 2019
A PLANE flying 38 passengers has vanished en route from Chile to Antarctica without activating an emergency signal.
It's feared that the military aircraft - identified as a C-130 Hercules - has suffered an accident, says the Chile Air Force. Military bosses declared an emergency alert after losing radio contact on Monday evening - when the Hercules was scheduled to return.
The plane, which was carrying 17 crew members and 21 passengers, including three civilians, took flight at 4.55pm from Punta Arenas in southern Chile.
The aircraft was about 300 miles from its destination when radio contact was lost. It was headed to Presidente Eduardo Frei Montalva air base in Antarctica. Contact was lost at 6.13pm local time, the Air Force said in a press release.
It added: "More than seven hours after radio contact was lost with the C130 Hercules, the Chilean Air Force informs that the plane has been categorized as having suffered an accident.
“This institution and all national and foreign maritime and aerial resources in the area are continuing to take part in the search operation in the area in order to rescue possible survivors.
“Families of those people who were on board are also being contacted so they can be kept informed of this terrible situation which affects this institution and the country.”
RAN OUT OF FUEL?
Personnel on the plane were heading to the Chilean base to check on a floating fuel supply line and other equipment. President Sebastian Pinera tweeted that he was heading to the country's Air Force HQ with his defense and interior ministers to monitor the emergency situation.
One theory is that the plane ran out of fuel, as weather conditions were good when it lost radio contact. Francisco Torres Vila, Chile Air Force’s director of operations, said it was possible it had landed on the sea. He said: “The plane’s fuel has run out and there has been no contact with it.
“Air Force planes are taking part in a search and rescue operation which also involves ships in the area, including Navy vessels. “The idea it has landed in the sea is a possibility we are considering.”
Chile's Air Force shared a flight map of the missing aircraft's last known location on Twitter. Gen. Eduardo Mosqueira of the Fourth Air Brigade told local media the aircraft's pilot had extensive experience.
W. O. Belfield, Jr.