A plane with 38 passengers en route to Antarctica has disappeared and it is feared that the aircraft has suffered an accident.
Identified as a C-130 Hercules, the aircraft vanished without activating the emergency signal.
An emergency alert has been declared by military bosses after losing radio contact when the plane was scheduled to come back.
C-130 Hercules, which was carrying 21 passengers and 17 crew members, took flight at 4:55 pm from Chile. It was around 300 miles from Punta Arenas when it lost radio contact at 6:13 pm.
In a press release, the Air Force also said: “More than seven hours after radio contact was lost with the C130 Hercules, the Chilean Air Force informs that the plane has been categorised 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.”
People on board were going to the Chilean base to check some equipment and a floating fuel supply line.
Because weather conditions were good, one theory is that the aircraft ran out of fuel.
Chile Air Force’s director of operations, Francisco Torres Vila, said it was possible that the plane had landed on the sea.
“The plane’s fuel has run out and there has been no contact with it,” he said. “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.”
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