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Plane carrying 8 missing in southern Chile: authority

(Xinhua)

08:44, March 23, 2012

SANTIAGO, March 22 (Xinhua) -- A small plane with eight people onboard went missing in southern Chile shortly after taking off on Thursday morning, said Chile's Civil Aviation Authority in a press release.

The plane, a Beechcraft BE300, disappeared from radar screen some 41 minutes after taking off from the southern city of Punta Arenas, the authority said, noting that a stress call was sent by the pilot before losing contact with ground control.

A total of eight people, including a patient and three medical personnel, were aboard the ambulance plane en route to capital Santiago.

The Chilean Air Force has started a search and rescue mission in the area believed to be where the plane had gone missing.

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