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Chile air force plane disappears


SANTIAGO (AFP): A Chilean air force plane carrying 21 people disappeared over the Pacific Ocean its way to the remote Juan Fernandez archipelago, officials said in a statement, as authorities said debris from the plane had been found.

Juan Fernandez's Mayor Leopoldo Gonzalez Friday told state channel TVN that a search team had "found debris in the sea."

Defence Minister Andres Allamand meanwhile said the plane, a turboprop-powered Casa 212, had attempted to land on the island on two occasions but failed and "after which, contact was lost."

The air force earlier said that as it was "getting closer to the island, radio communication with the airplane was lost," prompting a search effort to be launched by Chile's navy and air force.

Among those onboard was a TV crew from TVN -- including popular television host Felipe Camiroaga -- who was heading there for a report on how the archipelago was rebuilding from being hit by a tsunami following the February 27, 2010 earthquake, confirmed radio station Cooperativa in a report.

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