Chile mourns plane crash victims

2011-09-05 12:39
Santiago - Chile on Sunday declared two days of national mourning as officials said some bodies from the 21 people on board an air force plane that crashed off Robinson Crusoe island in the Pacific may never be found.

The tragedy has prompted nationwide grief, and the discovery of more human remains beyond the four bodies recovered earlier added to the trauma that has enveloped Chile since the Casa 212 turbo-prop plane went down late on Friday during a failed attempt to land.

The search continued on Sunday but the government said there was no hope of finding survivors as all on board the plane, believed to have been thrown off course by strong winds, would have died on impact.

President Sebastian Piñera said mourning on Monday and Tuesday would allow people to express solidarity with the families of victims, who included one of the country's best-known television personalities.

Bodies may never be found

Defence Minister Andrés Allamand, who is on the island, said the condition of more remains recovered on Sunday had indicated that some victims may never be reclaimed.

"We must prepare for the possibility that we will not find some of the bodies," said Allamand.

On Saturday he told reporters that the air force plane had made two abortive attempts to land before radio contact was lost.

Thousands gathered at state broadcaster TVN to remember daily morning talk show host Felipe Camiroaga, who was travelling to the island with a crew to report on reconstruction efforts after a massive earthquake and tsunami caused devastation last year.

"I cannot imagine the morning without Felipe," said one devastated female fan in tears outside the television station, whose headquarters has been deluged in flowers, stuffed animal toys, candles, and messages of condolence.

Robinson Crusoe, the island which is believed to have been the setting for the famous novel by 18th century British author Daniel Defoe, is the main island of the Juan Fernandez archipelago, which lies in the Pacific some 700km west of the South American coastline.

Search to continue

Prior to the recovery of the latest remains, air force chief of staff General Maximiliano Larraechea said on Sunday the search would continue "until we find each one" of the 17 missing.

The Chilean navy is using sonar equipment to try to locate the fuselage of the aircraft, where the remaining crash victims are likely to be found.

"Yesterday, the bodies of some victims surfaced fairly rapidly, which leads us to believe that the rest are with the fuselage," Larraechea said.

Although winds are being blamed for the crash, the accident's official cause remains unknown.

Government spokesperson Andres Chadwick said the four bodies identified were those of Erwin Nunez, an air force corporal; Galia Díaz, with the National Cultural Council; Roberto Bruce, a TVN network journalist; and Silvia Slager, a TVN producer.

Tributes for the victims have poured in from across South America. Foreign ministers from member nations of the Organisation of American States, gathered for a meeting in the Chilean port city of Valparaiso, held a moment of silence.

Pope Benedict XVI said he was "deeply saddened" to learn of the accident, in a message relayed by the archbishop of Santiago, Ricardo Ezzati.

- SAPA
Read more on:    sebastian pinera  |  chile  |  plane crashes  |  air travel  |  accidents
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Motoring
 

Thirty and still single? There’s hope!

Are you thirty and still single, without even a hint of a prospect on the horizon? Then read this!

 
 

Men24.com

SA’s Playboy Playmate of the year in action!
12 lies everyone accepts as fact
Hottie of the day: Charlotte
Breakup text goes viral and it’s hilarious!

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Festive gifts!

Check out our awesome range of festive gifts to make everyone’s wishes come true. Shop now!

Seen something you like in our catalogue?

Find the perfect gift and save up to R5000 – As seen on the catalogue. Hurry and shop now!

Save up to R2200 on electronics! – As seen in the catalogue

Wishing for tech gadgets this festive? Save up to R2100 on hot tech products at kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 35% off books

Save up to 35% on the latest page-turners. While stocks last. Shop now!

Good Morning, Mr Mandela by Zelda la Grange

Good Morning, Mr Mandela tells the extraordinary story of how a young woman had her life, beliefs, prejudices and everything she once believed in utterly transformed by the greatest man of her time. Now R221. Pre-order now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

It may be hard to stay cool, calm and collected. Your emotions can get quite heated in the moment. You may benefit from finding a...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.