The search for the Chilean military plane that fell last week to the sea when it was heading to Antarctica with 38 people on board will be suspended a few days from Thursday given the “extremes” climatic conditions of the area.
“There is a train of low pressures that make it presumable to think that on Thursday at noon we can have a sustained increase in wind, greater than 30 knots, with wave height rising from 4 to 6 meters high and visibility that would make work with ships unmanageable at low altitude, “said Rear Admiral Ronald Baasch.
Ships that are participating in the search will take advantage of that stop to carry out a refueling of fuel and equipment, Baadch said.
The search has been divided into two areas, one that tracks everything that is floating in the sea within a radius of 80 kilometers and a second one that searches deep within the Drake Sea, which separates South America from the icy continent and whose waters are considered one of the most turbulent on the planet.
The first remains of the aircraft , which corresponded to the sponges of the internal fuel tanks, were found last Wednesday and subsequently human remains were found.
The wrecked plane took off on December 9 at 4:55 p.m. local time (19.55 GMT) from the Chabunco military base in Punta Arenas, and lost contact when it had about an hour and 500 kilometers left to land at President Eduardo Frei base Montalva, one of the most important in Antarctica.
The plane, which had fuel to stay in the air until 00.40 local time (03.40 GMT), moved personnel who were going to do maintenance work at the base, including an anticorrosive treatment of its facilities, in addition to reviewing the floating oil pipeline that fuels the area.
The FACH reported on Saturday that the wrecked plane, manufactured by the US Lockheed Martin and acquired by Chile in 2012, experienced a landing gear problem in 2016 when it was about to complete that same journey and that the commander decided to return to Punta Sands for safety reasons.
The accident is the worst air tragedy in the country since 2011, when a plane with 21 people that went to the Juan Fernández archipelago, about 670 kilometers away from the Chilean coast, fell into the sea, loaded with humanitarian aid for reconstruction after the earthquake of magnitude 8.8 of 2010.