A military plane with 38 on board has disappeared. The C-130 plane transport aircraft took off from Punta at 16:55 local time (19:55 GMT), and operators lost contact soon after 18:00 (21:00).
Among the missing persons are 17 crew members and 21 passengers, who were travelling to provide logistical support. Chile’s air force said a search and rescue operation is under way to recover the plane and those missing.
News agency EFE reports that three of those on board are civilians. The plane was transporting crew members to inspect a floating pipeline that helps keep the base powered, the air force said. The plane left the Chabunco Air Base in Punta Arenas, near Chile’s southern tip, at 4:55 p.m. and lost radio contact at 6:13 p.m.
Gen. Eduardo Mosqueira, an air force commander, told reporters the plane may have attempted to land somewhere.
Chile controls over 1.2 million sq km of Antarctic territory, bordering land claimed by the UK and Argentina. Within this territory it operates nine bases the most of any country in the world.