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Search Crews Comb Antarctic for Missing Plane

Chilean plane was carrying 38 people
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 11, 2019 5:23 AM CST
Relatives of passengers of a missing military plane comfort each other as they arrive at the Cerrillos airbase in Santiago, Chile, Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2019.   (AP Photo/Luis Hidalgo)
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(Newser) – Search crews are combing the Antarctic for a Chilean military transport plane carrying 38 people that vanished en route to a base on the frozen continent and will tirelessly press ahead as the hunt gains widening international support, officials say. Gen. Eduardo Mosqueira says Uruguay, Argentina, Brazil, and the US had each lent planes to the search following Monday's disappearance. At least 13 aircraft and several ships were scouring the area where the plane was believed to be when radio contact was lost. "We’ll continue searching 24 hours a day, both night and day," Mosqueira tells the AP. The aircraft would have been about halfway to the Antarctic base when it lost contact, he says, adding that no emergency signals had been activated.

On Tuesday, crews encountered low visibility and waves up to 20 feet high. Officials say the plane took off in favorable conditions Monday afternoon, though it was flying in an area notorious for rapidly changing conditions, with freezing temperatures and strong winds. Seven hours after contact was cut off, the air force declared the plane a loss, though there was no sign of what happened to it. The C-130 Hercules carried 17 crew members and 21 passengers, including three civilians. They were en route to check on a floating fuel supply line and other equipment at the Chilean base. Holding out hope of survivors, officials said the plane was equipped with four rafts that could hold up to 20 passengers each if it went down at sea.

(Read more Antarctica stories.)

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