U.S. Navy Pitches In To Help Chilean Search

Picture taken in January 2019 at Chile's Antarctic base President Eduardo Frei, in Antarctica, showing a Chilean Air Force C-130 Hercules cargo plane as the one that disappeared in the sea between the southern tip of South America and Antarctica on December 9, 2019 with 38 people aboard. (Photo by JAVIER TORRES/AFP via Getty Images)
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News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, THURS. Dec. 12, 2019: The U.S. Navy is among those helping in the search for a Chilean military plane that went missing while transporting 38 passengers and crew to the Antarctic.

Chilean officials said Wednesday that they located some debris believed to be from the air force plane that went missing on Monday. They said the wreckage was found floating about 19 miles from where the C-130 Hercules cargo plane with 38 people on board last made contact, in a body of water known as the Drake Passage.

Chilean Air Force reports indicate that a C130 Hercules aircraft … took off at 4:55 p.m. and lost radio contact at 6:13 p.m. on Monday, while heading from the Chabunco Air Base in the city of Punta Arenas, to the President Eduardo Frei Montalva Antarctic Air Base. The plane was carrying 17 crew and 21 passengers that were traveling to the Antarctic airbase to work on the floating fuel supply pipeline and other facilities there.

There were no survivors.

The U.S. Southern Command says it has directed a Navy P-8A Poseidon multi-mission maritime aircraft to deploy to Punta Arenas, Chile, to contribute to the search.

The cause of the crash was unknown, and officials acknowledged the slim chances of finding survivors.

Pope Francis is reportedly closely following the news of the crash, the Vatican Secretary of State said Wednesday.

The pope “prays to the Lord to give hope in this moment of uncertainty and to sustain the search work and all those who collaborate in it,” Cardinal Pietro Parolin said in a Dec. 11 telegram.

Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil have also contributed to the search but visibility has remained low.

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