The wreckage of the Chilean Air Force plane that went missing en route to a base in Antarctica Monday night has been found, and Chile's government believes all 38 passengers aboard are dead. "I would like to express our condolences, support and the pain we are feeling for the human drama that the family of those who were on board are currently experiencing," Chilean Defense Minister Alberto Espina said at a press conference Thursday, per CNN. Search crews have been combing the Antarctic, and Chilean authorities confirmed at the press conference human remains that "likely belonged" to passengers have been recovered, per Air Force Commander in Chief General Arturo Merino Nunez. "The condition of the remains makes leads us to conclude that it is practically impossible that anyone survived this accident," he said.
Continued Espina, "Our duty is to, first of all, find all the remains and everything we can on the plane. Secondly, to do everything humanly possible so that there is no doubt about what happened in this accident." The four-engine C-130 Hercules transport aircraft was carrying 32 members of the Chilean Air Force, three members of the Chilean Army, and three civilians—two employees of a private construction company and one university official, per CBS News. It lost radio contact near the Drake Passage, the body of water between South America's southern tip and Antarctica. It had taken off from the Chilean capital of Santiago before making a brief stop in Punta Arenas, near the tip; it was about 390 nautical miles from Punta Arenas and 280 nautical miles from the country's Eduardo Frei base when it disappeared. (The wife of one of the men on board just died five months ago; their two young children are now orphaned.)