BEIJING, Sept. 3 (Xinhuanet) -- A Chilean air force plane with 21 people aboard is believed to have crashed into the ocean close to the Juan Fernandez islands, about 670 kilometers off the country's Pacific coast. The fate of those on the plane is still unknown.
Sebastian Pinera, Chilean President, said, "I empathize with the anguish and uncertainty the relatives of the 21 passengers aboard the plane which is presumed to have gone down are living through at this moment. I want to give them my solidarity and tell them that the entire country shares their anguish and uncertainty."
According to officials, the plane tried twice to land before it went missing in the late afternoon. Search teams were heading to the area, but nightfall was hampering efforts. The mayor of the islands told media that passengers' belongings had been found in the sea about a kilometer from the islands' landing strip. In the capital city of Santiago, dozens of people lit candles and prayed for the passengers. Chilean national TV said five of its staff members were among the passengers,(including popular presenter Felipe Camiroaga.)