There is commotion in due to the sudden death of the former president 74 years old, in a helicopter accident that occurred on Tuesday in Lago Ranco, Los Ríos region, in the south of the country.

He helicopter, which was carrying four people, crashed around 3:30 pm, shortly after takeoff. Three people survived and swam to shore, while Navy divers Chili They recovered the body of pineapple.

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This Wednesday, the prosecutor Tatiana Esquivel reported that the results of the autopsywhich according to the Legal Medical Service (SML) lasted four hours, were delivered to the family of pineapple.

Chilean Carabineros escort the vehicle transporting the body of former president Sebastián Piñera in Valdivia, on February 7, 2024. (Photo by OSCAR RIQUELME / AFP).


Then, Esquivel confirmed that the cause of death of the former president was asphyxiation due to submersion.

According to the newspaper the press asked prosecutor Esquivel about a thesis of an alleged heart attack by Piñera in mid-flight, to which the authority responded that the SML “having been asphyxiation by submersiondoes not consider any other possibility as the cause of death.”

“We don’t have any particular theory; however, Forensic or medical-legal expertise does allow us to develop a more probable theory of what the dynamics of this plane crash would have been like. As we pointed out, at this moment in parallel there is a technical team that is dedicated to carrying out all the expert reports that have to do with the helicopter where the accident occurred,” the prosecutor stated.

In this note we explain what is known about the accidenthow was he helicopter and Piñera’s experience as pilot.

Relatives accompany the coffin of former president Sebastián Piñera after his arrival on a Chilean Air Force (FACh) plane to Santiago.  (EFE/ Ailen Díaz).

Relatives accompany the coffin of former president Sebastián Piñera after his arrival on a Chilean Air Force (FACh) plane to Santiago. (EFE/ Ailen Díaz).


How was the accident?

The press of Chili handles two versions of the possible cause of accident: a technical problem helicopter product of the bad weather conditions in the area, because at the time of the tragedy there were strong winds and rain; or some physical problem of the president that would have caused him to lose control, specifically there is talk of a decompensation.

In addition to pineapplein the helicopter they traveled sister Magdalena Piñera, the businessman Ignacio Guerrero and his son, Miguel Ignacio Guerrero. The three managed to swim to shore to save themselves.

pineapple He was piloting the helicopter, according to the press in his country.

The site of Piñera's accident.  (AFP).

The site of Piñera’s accident. (AFP).

One version indicates that the former president realized that the helicopter was going to fall and told the passengers to take off their seat belt and they will jump to be able to swim and get to safety.

According to this theory, pineapple He would have told them that he could not do the same, to prevent the aircraft, out of control, from injuring them while swimming.

The former president could not unbuckle his seat belt and ended up trapped in the helicopter. His body was found 28 meters deep in Ranco Lake.

According to the General Directorate of Civil Aeronautics (DGAC)the helicopter registration CC-PHP fell around 3:30 p.m., just a few minutes after taking off, near the Ilhue sector.

“After takeoff and after a few minutes of flight, it capped at the scene, with four people on board, among whom was the former president of the Republic, Sebastián Piñera Echenique, who died in this unfortunate accident. The rest of the ship’s occupants managed to survive,” the DGAC reported.

Before the accident, the former head of state had gone to lunch at the house of a friend, the businessman Joseph Coxreported La Tercera.

The Spanish newspaper El País indicated that the house of Cox It is located in the Ilihue area, in Lake Ranco, at the other end of the house of the pineapple, in Bahía Coique. After lunch, although the owner of the house and his wife warned him not to leave due to the bad weather conditions, Piñera decided to fly his helicopter..

The helicopter fell about 400 meters from the house, and the same Cox He went out by boat to rescue the victims.

File photo dated January 14, 2006 of former Chilean president Sebastián Piñera during a campaign event in Santiago.  (EFE/ Marco Mesina ARCHIVE).

File photo dated January 14, 2006 of former Chilean president Sebastián Piñera during a campaign event in Santiago. (EFE/ Marco Mesina ARCHIVE).

An experienced pilot

Sebastian Piñera He had been a pilot for 20 years and had his license and other checks up to date, the newspaper reported. .

A person close to pineapple He told El Mercurio that “he was a great pilot, with many years, many years of experience.”

He was bold, but always measuring the risks. He flew with his children, with his close friends and he flew whenever he could. In 2006, for example, on the day of the second round of the presidential election against Michelle Bachelethe went out to tour the Metropolitan Region in his helicopter, and when he landed at the Tobalaba airfield before acknowledging his defeat in the elections, he confessed: Flying through the skies calms the soul,” he said.

Aviation expert Eddie Miceli gave that Piñera was an excellent pilotalways asking everything related to air safety, impeccable, always wanting to investigate and find out more.

Piñera obtained his pilot’s license in 2004after taking classes with him instructor Alfonso Wenzel.

In 2011, during an interview with the Chilean portal , Wenzel assured that It was not easy to teach him to fly.

“Those who want to learn to wander through the clouds They must be conservative people, who risk little, who do not go against the currentas happens when you want to win in the business world… Just what Piñera is not. Therefore, he had to learn, and it took him almost a year to do so. Much more than his classmate”he recalled.

His partner was the businessman Andrés Navarro. Both had to take a course of 40 theoretical hours and 50 practical hours to obtain the Private Helicopter Pilot license. Together they bought a Robinson 44 helicopter so they could practice and add hours of flying.

The Argentine newspaper La Nación recalled that in 2011 pineapple had problems with a helicopter Robinson 44. On January 22, The former president’s ship landed in the middle of a route from the town of Quilicura Bajo, in the surroundings of Curanipe, about 300 kilometers south of Santiago.

Sebastián Piñera and Andrés Navarro were traveling in the helicopter. They both piloted it. According to what they said at that time, The president asked where he was and made a phone call to get gasoline.

Minutes later, a Carabineros helicopter landed at the scene to help the then president. Piñera told the police that they were traveling “tight” on gasoline. Later, he tried to deny that it was an emergency landing and assured that it had been a scheduled stop, La Nación reported.

A Robinson R66 helicopter.  (Alan Wilson/Flickr).

A Robinson R66 helicopter. (Alan Wilson/Flickr).

What was Piñera’s helicopter like?

The helicopter where it crashed pineapple was a Robinson R66 Turbinea model that began to be built in 2007 and was introduced to the market in November 2010. It is designed and manufactured by the Robinson Helicopter Company of the United States.

Was single-engine and with capacity for four passengers plus the pilot.

He R66 has a maximum takeoff weight of 1,225 kilos, a payload of 640 kilos, a maximum power of 224 shp, a range of 650 kilometers, a maximum speed of 231.75 km/h and an absolute flight ceiling of 4,267.2 meters.

According to the manufacturer, it has energy-absorbing seats and an impact-resistant fuel system, in accordance with Federal Aviation Administration regulations (FAA) from the United States.

“It has a two-blade, cyclic T-bar rotor system, hydraulically reinforced controls that eliminate cyclic and collective feedback forces, and aerodynamic instrument panels,” the company reports on its website.


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