Santiago, Feb 6 (EFE).- The Government of Chile decreed three days of national mourning in honor of former President Sebastián Piñera, who died on Tuesday in the Los Ríos region when the helicopter he was piloting crashed into the waters of Lake Ranco, 780 kilometers (484 miles) south of Santiago.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGAC) issued a press release stating that “at approximately 3:30 p.m. local time, the CC-PHP helicopter crashed a few minutes after take-off in the vicinity of the Ilhue sector, Lago Ranco, Los Ríos region, with four people on board, including former President Sebastián Piñera Echeñique, who died in this unfortunate accident”.
The statement added that “the rest of the occupants of the aircraft managed to survive” and that officials from the Accident Investigation Department of the DGAC were on their way to the sector to begin an investigation.
Chilean President Gabriel Boric defined Sebastián Piñera as a “democrat from the beginning” and said that the former president “contributed with his vision to build great agreements for the good of the homeland.”
“We would like to express how shocked we feel at what happened, we want to convey our supportive embrace to the family. The two-time democratic president of Chile will receive all the recognition and honors he deserves,” Chilean Minister of Interior Carolina Tohá said in a brief appearance from La Moneda Palace.
Senator Rodrigo Galilea, leader of the Renovación National Party ( the former president’s party), said in an interview that Piñera is “an iconic and emblematic figure” and that in his opinion “it is difficult to find a person who has held such important positions since 1990.”
Other world leaders expressed their condolences for piñera’s death, including Spanish President Pedro Sánchez, Argentinian President Javier Milei and statements by the Organization of American Satates and the European Union.
Piñera was returning from lunch with one of his friends, businessman José Cox. The main hypothesis is that when the aircraft collapsed, the former president got trapped with his seat belt on and could not exit the helicopter, unlike his companions. EFE