- "The condition of the plane wreckage that was found makes it practically impossible that there are survivors from this air accident."
- About 15 planes and five vessels of different sizes and nationalities participated in the search operation of the plane.
- Pope Francis sent a message of "proximity" and "support" to the Chileans following the disappearance of the plane.
Chilean Authorities said on Thursday that they had ruled out the possibility of search crews finding survivors, following the crash of a corporate plane that disappeared three days ago with 38 people aboard. On Wednesday, the first wreckage of the Hercules C-130 aircraft was found.
“Along with the parts of the plane that have been found, human remains have been found that are most likely to be body parts of those traveling on the C-130,” Arturo Merino the Air Force chief said. The body parts will be subjected to examination by the local coroners. “The condition of the plane wreckage that was found makes it practically impossible that there are survivors from this air accident,” Merino told a news conference at the Punta Arenas airbase (3,000 km south of Santiago). Also present during the press conference was the nation’s Defense Minister, Alberto Espina.
The discovery of the parts of the plane wreckage floating in the sea was made by the Chilean flagship Antarctic Endeavor. The wreckage was found 30 km south of the last contact position of the Hercules C-130 plane, which lost radio communication at 6:13 pm local time on Monday 9. The aircraft, which took off from Punta Arenas in the south of the country on its way to the island of Rei Jorge in Antarctica, was carrying military personnel, private company workers, and a young researcher.
About 15 planes and five vessels of different sizes and nationalities participated in the search operation of the plane. Military forces from Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, and the United States were part of the search. The aircraft lost communication as it flew over the Drake Passage, one of the stormiest navigational zones between the South American continent and Antarctica. This nautical route marks the union of the Pacific Ocean with the Atlantic. With about 850 km wide and a depth of between 3,500 and 4,000 km, it has winds that can exceed 100 km / h. Between December and February, waves up to 15 meters high are generated on-site.
Pope Francis sent a message of “proximity” and “support” to the Chileans following the disappearance of the plane, while the victims’ relatives went to Punta Arenas to await the search results. “The Holy Father follows closely the news coming from this beloved country about the loss of contact with the Air Force plane heading for Antarctica,” wrote Vatican Cardinal Pietro Parolin in a telegram.
The plane had 17 crew and 21 passengers on board at the time it disappeared, shortly after takeoff from Chile’s southern city of Punta Arenas. The ill-fated plane crashed over the Drake Sea, which is a vast untouched ocean wilderness located off the far south edge of the South American continent that plunges to 3,500 meters (11,500 feet).