By Will Martin /
December 10, 2019
Picture taken in January 2019 at Chile's Antarctic base President Eduardo Frei, in Antarctica, showing a Chilean Air Force C-130 Hercules cargo plane as the one that disappeared in the sea between the southern tip of South America and Antarctica on December 9, 2019 with 38 people aboard.
JAVIER TORRES / Getty Images

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A military plane flying from Chile to an island in Antarctica disappeared with 38 people on board Monday, with authorities saying it most likely crashed somewhere in the Southern Ocean.

The plane was flying in 17 crew and 21 passengers from the southern Chilean city of Punta Arenas to a military base on King George Island, on the northern tip of Antarctica.

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The Hercules C-130 aircraft lost contact at 6:13 p.m. local time Monday evening, around an hour and five minutes after taking off. It was 390 miles into the journey, according to a statement issued by the Chilean Air Force.

It added that a search and rescue operation is underway.

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The plane was heading for the President Eduardo Frei Montalva base on King George Island, Chile's main Antarctic research center. The Chilean Air Force statement said that the plane was carrying maintenance personnel on their way to carry out repairs on a floating fuel supply line that serves the base.

According to a report from the BBC, Air Force General Eduardo Mosqueira told media that the plane did not activate a distress signal.

A map published by the Chilean Air Force shows the location of the plane when it disappeared, as well as a timeline of the incident.

It was flying over the Drake Passage, the portion of the sea that connects the Southern, Atlantic, and Pacific Oceans between the southern tip of South America and northern Antarctica.

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In a tweet late Monday,Chilean president Sebastian Piñera said he was "dismayed" at the plane's disappearance, and that he and Interior Minister Gonzalo Blumel are monitoring the situation from Santiago, Chile's capital.