The helicopter in which the former president Chilean Sebastian Piñera suffered a fatal accident after falling into Lake Ranco, in southern Chile, it was refloated this Saturday afternoon from a depth of 28 meters by personnel from the Chilean Navy in collaboration with divers from a private company.
The extraction work began early in the morning and continued throughout the day. In addition to the Navy and private rescuers, the General Directorate of Civil Aviation (DGAC), the Prosecutor’s Office of the Los Ríos region and Carabineros.
According to the local press, the barge carrying the helicopter (covered with a kind of black blanket) will be taken to the port of Futrono, at the foot of the same lake, so that the aircraft can be delivered to the DGAC, in charge of transporting it to the commune of Cerrillos, in the Metropolitan region, where it is located. the capital. For their part, Carabineros (Militarized Police) will be in charge of ensuring security during the transfer.
The helicopter that Piñera piloted, a Robinson R44 license plate CC-PHP owned since 2006rushed onto the Ranco Lakean exclusive resort more than 800 kilometers south of the capital where he spent summers with his family.
The latest expert reports released by the local press reveal that there were no calls from the aircraft to the DGAC, nor to the Harbor Master’s Office. Ranco Lake and that since it is a small aircraft, it does not have a flight recorder or ‘black box’, which could have provided information about the last seconds that the helicopter was in the air.
“Everything went very fast”
One of the ex-president’s companions on the fateful trip, Bautistic Guerrero – son of his friend Ignacio, who was traveling as co-piloto–, explained in a brief interview given on Friday to a local media that “everything happened very quickly.”
“Due to poor visibility, we turned around where we could see the coast better and there we ran into the water,” said Bautista Guerrero, 23, from the cemetery where the former president’s body was buried.
“The last thing I heard well is that (Piñera) would change course,” he added, before detailing that at the moment of falling into the water he opened the door, took off his seat belt and “when the helicopter filled (with water),” he came out. .
Piñera, who governed for two non-consecutive terms (2010-2014 and 2018-2022), is the second former president to die after the return to democracy in 1990 (the first was the Christian Democrat Patricio Aylwin, leader of the Chilean transition, in 2016 ) and was a controversial figure in the country.
Possessor of one of the largest fortunes in Chiliduring his mandates he had to manage the reconstruction of the country after the devastating earthquake of 2010the epic rescue of the 33 miners, the successful vaccination campaign during the pandemic and the social outbreak of 2019, one of the darkest points of his management.