Plane with 10 aboard missing in Chile

June 9th, 2008 - 12:55 pm ICT by IANS  

Santiago, June 9 (IANS) A small plane carrying 10 people have disappeared in bad weather over southern Chile, EFE news agency reported Monday, quoting air force officials. The Cessna 208 craft belonging to Patagonia Airlines, a small regional carrier, had a pilot and nine passengers aboard when it lost contact from air traffic control radar Saturday.

The plane took off from Puerto Montt, located 1,000 km south of the capital Santiago, and was heading for the Aysen region when it lost contact, Colonel Jorge Gebauer said.

A search and rescue operation has been going on amid difficulties due to of bad weather in the area.

“We’ve been operating since first light, but the only contact we’ve had so far is the emergency beacon,” the head of the Chilean air force’s 3rd Brigade, Col. Gebauer told Radio Cooperativa.

“We’re marking out the area, mainly along the Palena River and the Yeco area,” the colonel said, adding that so far the fate of the plane’s occupants is not known.

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