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Have the wrecks of the Chilean plane been found?

Tests for confirmation in the next few days

Some debris of the Chilean military plane that disappeared on Monday with 38 people on board would have been found while en route from Punta Arenas airport to a military base in Antarctica (see AVIONEWS). A piece of "spongy material", identified by an aircraft that patrolled the area, was located from the icy waters of the southern Atlantic and could come from a fuel tank. You will be tested for confirmation that it could come no sooner than two days. The "Fuerza aerea de Chile" pointed out in a statement on its website that "out of respect for the families of the people who were in the airplane, all information regarding the finding of the pieces will be analyzed, validated and communicated by the Chilean Air Force".

Today a ship has been sent to the research area in order to explore the point where the impact probably occurred about 30 km from the place where the C-130 Hercules disappeared from the radar.

Chilean Air Force General Eduardo Mosqueira said that the research area covers about 450 km of ocean and an important aid has come from Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, United States, Israel which have supplied aircraft, satellites and ships. Also according to Mosqueira the two pilots had a proven experience and the aircraft, built in 1978, was still in good condition: "The four-engine C-130 is a military workhorse, in addition the plane took off in favorable weather conditions, although it flew to an area known for rapid weather changes, with freezing temperatures and strong winds", he said.

However the expert Ed Coleman, pilot and president of the department of safety sciences of the aeronautical university of Embry-Riddle in Prescott, Arizona, pointed out that the climate in Antarctica makes the place extremely difficult for the pilots: "Often there they are storms with violent gusts of wind that agitate the sea causing waves even higher than six meters. Flying in those areas could become a real challenge and in certain situations it could be almost impossible to make a landing. You can find yourself a moment before under the sky clear and in a short time dangerous storms can form".

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AVIONEWS - World Aeronautical Press Agency