Chile's ex-president dies in helicopter crash

Chile's ex-president dies in helicopter crash
Photo credit: Al-Jazeera

Sebastian Pinera, who was Chile's president in 2010-2014 and 2018-2022, died on Tuesday when his private helicopter crashed on the shores of Lake Ranco, in southern Chile, according to his office, Xinhua reports.

"It is with deep regret that we announce the death of the former president of the Republic of Chile, Sebastian Pinera Echenique," his office said in a statement released to the press.

Minister of the Interior and Public Security Carolina Toha confirmed the news, and announced that the former president, 74, "will have all the republican honors and recognitions he deserves."

In the commune of Futrono, "a helicopter crashed with four crew members. Three of them were able to reach the shore through their own means, they are out of danger, but that was not the case with the fourth crew member, who was the former president," the minister said.

Toha said Chile's President Gabriel Boric "has instructed that a state funeral be held, that national mourning be declared."

The Navy reached the site of the accident and recovered the body of the former president, she added.

The crash occurred around 3:00 p.m. local time in a rural sector of Ilihue, in the southern Los Rios region, where Pinera spent the summer with his family, about 920 kilometers from the capital Santiago.

Local media reported the helicopter was flying over the lake on a rainy day with poor visibility, and sank when it crashed.

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