(RepublicanPress.org) – Media outlets recently reported the death of Sebastián Piñera, the former president of Chile, on February 6. Initial news reports indicated that Piñera died after a helicopter carrying him and three other passengers crashed into a lake located in southern Chile. Later reports revealed that the 74-year-old former president died as a result of asphyxiation due to submersion (drowning) after the crash.
Argentina’s La Nacion reported that Piñera was unable to unfasten his seatbelt after the helicopter crashed into Lago Ranco and drowned. The other passengers managed to free themselves and swim to shore.
— Reuters World (@ReutersWorld) February 7, 2024
Naval officials and local firefighters arrived at the crash site shortly after the helicopter went down. Naval officials estimated that the chopper sank roughly 40 meters (roughly 131 feet).
Officials with the Chilean Legal Medical Service, the country’s coroner’s office, conducted an autopsy on Piñera later that night. Officials later transported his body to the nation’s capital, Santiago de Chile, where it will lie in state at the headquarters of the national congress until his February 9 funeral service.
Chilean public broadcaster 24 Horas reported that Piñera recently renewed his license for helicopters and was piloting the fight. The chopper crashed at approximately 3:00 p.m. local time. The news report indicated that the area was draped in fog and decreased visibility.
Reuters reported that a local prosecutor from the area where Piñera’s helicopter crashed talked to reporters about the incident. Tatiana Esquivel confirmed the former president’s cause of death, but noted that investigators hadn’t determined the cause of the accident.
Esquivel told reporters that officials had collected forensic data to help them develop a theory regarding the crash. She also said a specialized team was on its way to the crash site to gather additional evidence.
According to The Telegraph, flying conditions were poor when Piñera took off. The former leader also reportedly spent his final moments fighting with the controls while urging those onboard to escape first.
Piñera served as Chile’s president from 2010 to 2014 and 2018 to 2022. He was a member of the National Renewal Party (Partido Renovación Nacional), a liberal-conservative wing of the center-right to far-right Chile Vamos (Let’s Go Chile) coalition.
For those unfamiliar with the term, liberal conservatism is an ideology combining conservative policies with the classical liberal view that the government should play a minimal role in the economy.
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