Former Chilean president Piñera dies in helicopter crash near Lago Ranco

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(FILES) Chilean President Sebastian Pinera addresses the nation in Santiago, on October 26, 2019. The former President of Chile, Sebastian Piñera, died this Tuesday February 6, 2024 in a helicopter accident in Lago Ranco, a vacation area 920km south of Santiago, his office reported. (Photo by Pedro Lopez / AFP)

Former Chilean president Sebastián Piñera (74) died in a helicopter crash on Tuesday, 6 February, according to the Chilean government. Piñera served as president of Chile from 2010 to 2014 and from 2018 to 2022. The helicopter he was traveling in crashed in Lago Ranco, a lake in the middle of the country. This occurred after heavy rainfall, as reported by ABC Internacional.

Piñera was reportedly piloting his private helicopter accompanied by three others, including his sister. The three other occupants survived the accident, but Piñera did not. His body has been recovered, announced Interior Minister Carolina Tohá. The current president of Chile, Gabriel Boric, has declared three days of national mourning.

According to La Tercera, the incident occurred shortly before 3:00 p.m. local time. The former president was reported to have had lunch with a businessman prior to the crash.

Preliminary information (to be confirmed): Local media reports that the helicopter was a Robinson R66 Turbine (registered CC-DGV), but pictures shortly before the crash do not match with the colour scheme of CC-DGV. Piñera is however known to own, or have owned, a Robinson R44 Raven II (registered CC-PHP).

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