Sebastian Piñera, former president of Chile, He died this Tuesday afternoon at the age of 74 in a plane crash in the rural sector of Ilihue, in the town of Ranco LakeRiver region. The former president was in a helicopter he owned that crashed into the middle of the body of water, with four occupants.
It had taken off in the middle of a day of rain that affects the area and, After a few minutes of flight, for reasons that are being investigated, it lost lift and fell.
Piñera spent the southern summer holidays at his home in Bahía Coique, on the shores of Lake Ranco, about 900 kilometers south of Santiago. The former president had gone to eat at the nearby house of a businessman friend and was upon returning, after taking off and flying for a few minutes, when Piñera lost control of the device and fell into the water, in the municipality of Futrono. Also traveling on the helicopter were his sister, Magdalena Piñera, his businessman friend Ignacio Guerrero and his son of the same name, who survived.
pineapple ruled Chile during two periods: between 2010 and 2014, and from 2018 to 2022.
Sebastián Piñera pilots a helicopter in 2006. Photo AFP
From the Office of the former president they issued a statement about his death: “With deep regret we announce the death of the former president of the Republic of Chile, Sebastian Piñera Echenique. During the afternoon of this Tuesday, February 6, 2024, the former president suffered a plane accident in the Los Ríos Region. Information about his funeral will be reported in due course. We appreciate the massive expressions of affection and concern that we have received during these bitter hours”.
The aircraft sank to an estimated depth of 40 meters. It is a helicopter Robinson R66 Turbine matrícula CCDGV. It is a model that began to be manufactured in 2007 and which the brand's official website defines as “reliable, economical and easy to maintain.”
After the work carried out by a team of divers, Piñera's body was rescued from the bottom of the lake.
“The army was able to reach the place where the accident occurred and recover Piñera's body,” Chilean Interior Minister Carolina Tohá reported in a press conference.
“There were four crew members on the helicopter. Three of them were able to reach the shore on their own, but this was not the case with the fourth crew member, former president Sebastián Piñera. The Navy was able to recover the body of the former president who has died. “We want to express our shock over this tragedy, to extend our arm of solidarity to his family, to all those close to him, but also to all Chileans because Sebastián Piñera was a democratic president of Chile on two occasions,” added the minister.
The images are of Lake Ranco, where the former Chilean president's helicopter fell.
Furthermore, the official confirmed that the president Gabriel Boric ordered that Piñera be fired in a state funeral and declared national mourning. “He will have all the republican honors and recognitions he deserves,” he said.
Boric was in the Valparaíso region due to the devastating forest fires and He decided to return to the La Moneda Palace in the face of the Piñera tragedy.
Sebastián Piñera, during the 2017 presidential campaign. Photo AFP
According to preliminary police data, this Tuesday At 2:57 p.m., a phone call was received to the Lago Ranco Tenancy guard.reporting that “in said sector, an aircraft had crashed, apparently a helicopter, Carabineros and Navy personnel attended the scene to verify the veracity of the procedure.”
Prosecutor Tatiana Esquivel, in charge of the investigation, asked for the first expert reports the intervention of the Homicide Brigade and the Criminalistics Laboratory of the Valdivia Police.
The Shock at the news was immediate both in Chile and internationally.
Condolences from the entire political spectrum of Argentina
From Argentina, the Office of President Javier Milei regretted the death of Pineapple. “On behalf of the Argentine Statewe send our condolences to his family, friends and all the Chilean people.“, they indicated.
Furthermore, as soon as the news was known, in the Chamber of Deputies that was dealing with the Omnibus Law, there was a halt in the session to make a minute of silence.
Also Mauricio Macri expressed his pain. “Immense sadness for the death of my dear friend Sebastián Piñera. Good people, committed like no one else to Chile and to the values of freedom and democracy in Latin America… It really is a total loss, irreplaceable. Today I say goodbye to a friend and a notable leader. All my love for his family,” he remarked on social networks.
Mauricio Macri with Sebastián Piñera at the Palacio de la Moneda in Santiago de Chile, in 2019. Photo EFE
Alberto Fernández, meanwhile, expressed: “I remember him with sincere affection enjoying beautiful encounters that remain in me beyond our differences. My condolences to his family and to all who loved him.”
Cristina Kirchner joined the affectionate messages. “I met Sebastián Piñera when we were both Presidents, I remember when he accompanied us in the Bicentennial celebrations along with the other leaders from all over South America. As everyone knows We did not have the same ideas, but we were always united by a relationship of great respect: he was a right-wing but deeply democratic man. I fondly remember his sense of humor and the warmth of his family, whom I met in Chile. “All my condolences to them.”
I met Sebastián Piñera when we were both Presidents, I remember when he accompanied us in the Bicentennial celebrations along with the other leaders from all of South America. As everyone knows, we did not have the same ideas, but he always united us in a relationship of great respect: he was…
— Cristina Kirchner (@CFKArgentina) February 6, 2024
“We live together, we work to strengthen the relationship between our countries and we always had a good dialoguewhen we were both presidents and also when we were not,” wrote the president of Brazil, Lula da Silva, on his social networks.
The Brazilian progressive leader conveyed his “feelings” to Piñera's family and friends, and reiterated his sadness for “his death so abruptly.”
In a press conference, Carolina Tohá sent her condolences to the family and stated that a state funeral and national mourning will take place.
Also the former president of Uruguay José Mujica (2010-2015) assured that he feels “enormously” the death of Piñera and recalled the respect that both had for each other, despite the political distance. “I had a good personal relationship with Piñera and his wife”said Mujica, who recalled a trip they made together to Antarctica in January 2012, in which they both visited the bases of both countries.
The former Uruguayan president said that Piñera went with his wife to greet him at the hotel where he had stayed and that he took the opportunity to thank him for a gesture he had made to Uruguay will receive the first vaccines against covid-19.
“I can't forget that. I thanked him enormously. I recognized it. And keep in mind that at some point we had differences of a political nature, but enormous respect from the human point of view and good relations,” Mujica added.