The state funeral of former Chilean president Sebastián Piñera, who died this Tuesday at the age of 74 in a plane crash, will be held on Thursday in the Hall of Honor of the Chilean Congress in Santiago. President Gabriel Boric decreed three days of national mourning for his predecessor in office.
How was the plane accident in which Sebastián Piñera died?
Piñera died when the helicopter he was piloting plunged into the waters of Lake Ranco. The former president was traveling back after visiting a businessman friend and was unable to remove his seat belt. Divers rescued his body from the aircraft, which sank about 40 meters deep. The other three occupants of the helicopter, including his sister, managed to swim to shore.
Read also: Sebastián Piñera died: this is the place where the helicopter in which the former president was traveling fell
The body of the former president was transferred in the afternoon to the Legal Medical Service of Valdivia, where the required autopsy will be performed in the next few hours.
Former president Sebastián Piñera died this Tuesday in a plane accident. (Photo: AP – Luis Hidalgo).
“As the prosecutor's office, we have arranged for a medical-legal autopsy to be carried out, which is carried out in the Legal Medical Service of Chile and, on this occasion, it will be carried out in Valdivia. Once that procedure, the autopsy, is carried out, and if there are no additional procedures, the body will be immediately delivered to the next of kin so that they can dispose of it,” explained the Regional Prosecutor of Los Ríos, Tatiana Esquivel.
After the autopsy, the remains of the former head of state will be transported by air, heading to Group 10 of the Air Force (FACh), in the commune of Pudahuel.
After landing, he will be taken to the Hall of Honor of the Palace of the former National Congress, where the Piñera-Morel family asked for time alone to perform a ceremony, which is estimated to take place in the morning hours of this Wednesday.
A funeral with “full honors”
The Minister of the Interior, Carolina Tohá, said that Piñera “will have all the republican honors and recognitions he deserves,” in an appearance before the media from the La Moneda Palace (seat of Government).
The last state funeral held in Chile was held in 2016 when former President Patricio Aylwin (1990-1994) died during the mandate of Michelle Bachelet (2006-2010 and 2014-2018), following the protocol established for these circumstances.
President Boric would join the ceremony and it is expected that “as Bachelet did about Aylwin eight years ago” he will proclaim a speech about Piñera, who had two presidential terms between 2010-2014 and 2018-2022.
Read also: This was the operation to remove the body of former president Sebastián Piñera from the water
Three days of official mourning
After the national mourning was declared for three days, the headquarters of the Government, public institutions and the Armed Forces and Public Order must keep the flag raised at half-mast during this period.
Likewise, all festive government events that were scheduled are suspended.
Sebastián Piñera's wake
The Senate of Chile confirmed that the remains of former President Piñera will be laid to rest starting this Thursday, February 8, in the Hall of Honor of the former National Congress of Santiago, located in the center of the Chilean capital.
The funeral of Sebastian Pinera
In a funeral of this magnitude in Chile, the three powers of the State, Executive, Legislative and Judicial, are involved, and it is the Ministry of the Interior that decrees the formalization of the activities, stipulated in the public ceremonial regulations and protocol.
In the case of Piñera, it will be the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that will lead the organization of the funeral honors, as announced by Boric.
The itinerary of the funeral cortege of Piñera
According to Universidad de Chile radio, a preliminary schedule has already been defined that establishes that Piñera's body will leave the building on Friday in the direction of the La Moneda Palace, the headquarters of the Government, where he will be honored by President Gabriel Boric.
Then you will head to the Metropolitan Cathedral, where a mass will be celebrated and will be led by the archbishop of Santiago, Fernando Chomalí.
Finally, the response will be at the Parque del memoria cemetery in Huechuraba.
The former president of Chile, Sebastián Piñera, shows a plastic bag with a message from the miners trapped in a mine in Copiapo. The rescue of the miners was one of the achievements of his first term. (Photo: AP/Héctor Retamal).By: AP
The public funeral will be attended by government authorities, the presidents of the Senate and the Chamber, the Supreme Court, diplomats and foreign personalities who have arrived in the country for the funeral.
At all times, the former president's coffin will have a military escort and will receive honors from various units of the Armed Forces.
Piñera's relatives will also have the opportunity to hold a religious and private ceremony.
What was the last state funeral in Chile like?
The state funeral of former President Aylwin, who died on April 19, 2016, was the first held in Chile in decades. During the funeral of Patricio Aylwin, the funeral procession left the former head of state's home, two days after his death, escorted by Carabineros and toured several communes in the Chilean capital.
He passed in front of the La Moneda Palace, the seat of the Government, where he was honored by President Bachelet.
He received honors and offerings at the headquarters of the Christian Democratic Party and a wake in the building of the former National Congress in Santiago, in addition to a religious ceremony in the Metropolitan Cathedral, prior to his funeral in the General Cemetery where former president Bachelet gave her speech.
According to the local press, the protocol carried out then was to celebrate a private mass at his home with his family and close friends, early the next day.