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Four bodies found in plane crash area in Chile

(Xinhua)

11:34, September 04, 2011

Chilean Air Force troops load rescue resources to a plane near the Juan Fernandez, Chile, on Sept. 3, 2011. Chilean Air Force confirmed on Saturday that four bodies floating in the waters near the Juan Fernandez Islands have been recovered as a result of searching efforts following the crash of a plane with 21 passengers. (Xinhua/Victor Rojas)

SANTIAGO, Sept. 3 (Xinhua) -- Chilean Air Force confirmed on Saturday that four bodies floating in the waters near the Juan Fernandez Islands have been recovered as a result of searching efforts following the crash of a plane with 21 passengers.

"Four bodies, two women and two men," confirmed Gen. Maximiliano Larraechea during a news conference held Saturday noon.

The bodies were located by fishermen assisting the search work and handed over to the Chilean Navy, said the officer.

"The bodies will be identified on the continent, unless the state of the bodies allow their identification with no doubt," said Larraechea.

The Spanish CASA aircraft was reportedly missing at about 17:48 local time on Friday while trying to land on the island, about 670 km west off the Chilean coast.

The Chilean authorities have launched search operations by air and sea in the area around the crash.

Leopoldo Gonzalez, mayor of Juan Fernandez Island, said the bodies were found "floating at sea without lifesaving jackets."

Meanwhile, the Chilean Navy has deployed eight divers and a submersible capsule in an operation to glean bodies in deep underwater salvage.

The Chilean government confirmed that onboard the plane were eight members of the Chilean Air Force, five persons from local public television, six staff from a humanitarian organization and two officials from the Ministry of Culture.

The trip to the islands with some 629 inhabitants, was to inaugurate reconstruction projects for the victims of the earthquake and tsunami of February 27, 2010. TV host Felipe Camiroaga of TVN, the state TV Station of Chile, was also among the passengers.

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