A Chilean Air Force plane carrying 38 people has disappeared from radar on a flight to Antarctica, local officials say. A search and rescue operation has been launched.
The aircraft, a C-130 Hercules, had taken off from Punta Arenas in southern Chile at 4:55 p.m. local time on Monday. All contact was lost at 6:13 p.m. when the aircraft was flying over Drake Passage, a body of water which connects the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean.
A statement from the Chilean Air Force said 38 people were on board the plane, including 17 crew members and 21 passengers. The plane was heading to Base Presidente Eduardo Frei Montalva, which is located on King George Island, off the coast of Antarctica.
“The aircraft was carrying out logistical support tasks, transferring personnel for the revision of the floating fuel supply pipeline at the base and for carrying out anticorrosive treatment of national facilities in the area,” the air force said in a statement.
There was no immediate word on the identities of those on board, but most of them were said to be members of the air force.