A Chilean Air Force plane with 38 people aboard that went missing Monday night is presumed to have crashed.
A C-130 Hercules transport aircraft took off from Punta Arenas at 16:55 local time (19:55 GMT), en route to Antarctica, lost contact soon after 18:00 (21:00) and disappeared on Monday night.
The plane with 17 crew and 21 passengers, lost contact at about 450 miles into its 770-mile journey to Antarctica’s King George Island.
“The plane is presumed to have crashed, given that the amount of fuel and the plane’s autonomy had already run out. Given that, it is already assumed that the plane has crashed,” said Gen. Francisco Torres in a televised press conference.
The C-130 Hercules aircraft had departed from the Chilean capital of Santiago and stopped briefly in Punta Arenas near the country’s southern tip, then continued toward the country’s Antarctic base before losing radio contact 6:13 p.m. local time near the Drake Passage, the body of water between the tip of South America and Antarctica.
The first C-130 Hercules entered into service in the US Air Force in the 1950s. However the more modern “H” and “J” model variants were introduced in the 1970s and 1990s, respectively.