Home » Former President of Chile Sebastián Piñera dies in helicopter crash | Chile

Former President of Chile Sebastián Piñera dies in helicopter crash | Chile

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Former President of Chile Sebastián Piñera dies in helicopter crash |  Chile

Sebastián Piñera, former President of Chile, died this Tuesday in a helicopter accident, the former head of state’s office confirmed. He was 74 years old.

The accident occurred at Lake Ranco, in the Chilean region of Los Rios, south of the country. On board Sebastián Piñera’s private helicopter, piloted by himself, were three other people who survived the crash, with injuries.

According to Chilean media, the aircraft crashed at 3pm local time (6pm in mainland Portugal), minutes after take-off. It was found in the lake, 40 meters deep by the authorities, who have already removed the former President’s body from the water. Police, firefighters, armed forces and emergency medical teams were present at the scene.

Piñera served two terms as head of state, the first between 2010 and 2014 and the second from 2018 to 2022. His successor and current President of Chile, Gabriel Boric, addressed the country late this Tuesday afternoon.

“President Piñera contributed with his vision to build great agreements of national interest. He was a democrat from the beginning and truly sought what he believed to be the best for Chile”, considered Boric. “For example, when he took on the reconstruction of the country after the earthquake of February 27, 2010 or when he acted with great determination and courage in rescuing the 33 miners from the San José mine.”

The socialist head of state ended the intervention with a phrase said by his predecessor upon his return to the Presidency in 2018: “Chile is all of us, we must dream it, design it and build it together.”

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Miguel Juan Sebastián Piñera Echenique was born on December 1, 1949 in the capital of Chile, Santiago. Graduated in Economics, he entered politics at the end of the 1980s, when he became a member of the conservative right-wing National Renewal party, now in opposition to Gabriel Boric’s government.

State funeral and national mourning

On social media, one of the first reactions to news of the accident was from Chilean senator Luciano Cruz-Coke, Minister of Culture in Sebastián Piñera’s first term. “I had the honor of being part of your Government and having you as a friend. History will do justice to your legacy and your tireless work on behalf of Chile,” he wrote on X (formerly Twitter). “It is with great sadness and pride that I say goodbye. Rest in peace, President.”

The current Minister of the Interior, Carolina Tohá, has also spoken. “We want, first of all, to express our shock at this tragedy,” she said at a press conference from Santiago. “There were four people in the helicopter. Three of them managed to reach shore and are out of danger, but this was not the case with the fourth crew member: former President Sebastián Piñera.”

“He was, twice, President of Chile, democratic President of Chile, and for this reason he will receive all the honors and recognition he deserves from the Republic”, he added. He also announced the instructions given by President Gabriel Boric: that a state funeral be held and national mourning be declared.

Beyond Chile’s borders, the Presidency of the Argentine Republic was the first institution to officially express condolences for Piñera’s death.

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