Chile military plane disappears with 38 aboard

A C-130 Chilean transport aircraft unloads cargo at Eduardo Frei Chilean base's airstrip in Antartica in 2004

Enlarge Image A C-130 Chilean transport aircraft unloads cargo at Eduardo Frei Chilean base's airstrip in Antartica in 2004. AFP via Getty Images

The air force said conditions for flying were good and that it was in contact with the families of those on board, many of whom were traveling to carry out logistical support tasks at the country's largest Antarctic base Eduardo Frei.

Relatives of passengers of a missing military plane arrive by bus to the Cerrillos airbase in Santiago, Chile.

President Sebastian Pinera, whose country has been witnessing its worst civil unrest in decades, said in a tweet he would fly to the southern city of Punta Arenas with Interior Minister Gonzalo Blumel.

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"The Chilean defence forces report that seven hours after losing the communication with the C130 Hercules aircraft, it was recognised as crashed", a statement published on Twitter said.

The plane took off Monday from the city of Punta Arenas in Patagonia, headed for King George Island, Antarctica.

The C-130 Hercules was carrying 17 crew and 21 passengers, including three civilians.

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The Chilean Air Force said that all aerial and naval resources available in the area, both Chilean and foreign, were continuing to search the area where radio contact was lost in a bid to rescue potential survivors. Mosqueira also added that the search was being conducted within a 60-mile radius from the last point of contact with the aircraft. On Tuesday crews encountered low visibility and waves up to 6 metres (20 feet) high. With the frigid waters, he said there was little hope anyone survived.

The C-130 is considered a workhorse of modern militaries around the globe.

Argentina, Uruguay, and the United States have joined the search effort, according to a press release from the Chilean Air Force on Tuesday. Several airplanes scoured the area with infrared devices.

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