SANTIAGO, Chile – A single-engine plane missing for four days in southern Chile was found Wednesday with nine survivors among the 10 people aboard, authorities reported.
Air Force Cmdr. Gaston Elshols said the only person aboard to die in the crash was the pilot, Nelson Bahamondes, 65, who had spent nearly four decades flying in the region
Deputy Interior Minister Felipe Harboe said Bahamondes apparently maneuvered the plane to lessen the impact of the crash in the heavily forested area. The cause of the accident was not immediately known.
Harboe said four survivors had already been rescued during a heavy rain and taken to the nearby town of Puerto Raul Marin for medical care. Regional Gov. Sergio Galilea said none of the survivors is seriously injured.
The Cessna Caravan disappeared Saturday during a flight from Puerto Montt to La Junta, a small village in the Aysen region, close to the erupting Chaiten volcano.
Authorities mounted a large air and ground search operation until the wreck was sighted shortly afternoon Wednesday from a helicopter.
Officials had picked up a signal from the plane's electronic locator transmitter on Saturday, but lost it Wednesday morning.
The Cessna belonged to Patagonia Airlines, a small regional airline.
All the passengers on the plane were Chileans, including three people who had been evacuated last month from the town of Chaiten following volcanic eruption.
The town has since then virtually destroyed by the water of the nearby Blanco river, thickened by ash from the volcano.