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Chilean Air Force Plane Crashes with 21 Aboard; All Feared Dead

Chilean Air Force Plane Crashes with 21 Aboard; All Feared Dead

A Chilean military plane crashed Friday in the Juan Fernandez islands off Chile’s Pacific coast with 21 people aboard, including a popular television host, authorities said.

The CASA military plane tried twice to land at the airport on the remote island but strong wind gusts buffeted the aircraft and it later was lost from sight, said Felipe Paredes, a local council member who was in the airport’s control tower at the time.

Rescuers in boats were searching for the plane, but the mayor of Juan Fernandez, Leopoldo Gonzalez, said some luggage had been found in the water and it was clear the plane crashed. “We assume that there was an accident and that there are no survivors,” he said.

President Sebastian Pinera expressed sadness. “This is a blow to our country. In these times of anguish and uncertainty is when unity is most needed,” he said.

Authorities said popular Chilean television personality Felipe Camiroaga, along with four other colleagues, were flying to the island to do a program on the reconstruction of Juan Fernandez island following the magnitude-8.8 earthquake and tsunami that wiped out its main town on Feb. 27, 2010.

You can participate in the online discussion with the following:

Twitter: #FACH #JuanFernandez

Follow in Spanish: @Tvn @Tvn24h @Tvn_Online @emol @periodismoperu @Canal13

Follow in English: @CNNI @CNEE @ILoveChile @SantiagoTimes

Facebook: On the EMOL Facebook wall

Canal 13:

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Based on reporting from MSNBC, Reuters and Associated Press.

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