Chilean military declares plane lost as searchers scour Antarctica for answers

The search continues for a lost Chilean plane in Antarctica that was carrying 38 people and had been headed for a military base when communication with the ground ceased.

The Air Force is using over a dozen planes, three satellites and two ships to conduct the search. The lost Air Force transport plane took off in stable condition on Monday with 17 crew members and 21 passengers but has not been heard from since.

Chilean President Sebastian Pinera said, "every humanly possible effort" is being made to locate the plane. Officials lost contact with the C-130 Hercules aircraft at 6:13 p.m. on Monday, only 90 minutes after the plane departed from Punta Arenas.

The two pilots who were flying the Hercules were reported to be experienced flyers but likely faced extreme weather conditions on their route along Drake's Passage.

CHILE LOSES CONTACT WITH MILITARY PLANE HEADED TO ANTARCTICA, 38 ON BOARD

Drake’s Passage, the sea between the southern tip of South America and Antarctica, has a history of raging storms and frozen temperatures. But the Air Force said late Monday that the plane would never have been cleared for takeoff if bad weather had been expected.

Gen. Eduardo Mosqueira of the Fourth Air Brigade told local media that a ship was sent out to where contact was lost with the plane and that a full search is still underway.

“Antarctica is different. It’s hard to fly because of changing conditions,” he said.

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The plane, which is over 40 years old, is equipped with four flotation rafts which can hold up to 20 passengers each if the pilots had to ditch the aircraft in the ocean.

Uruguay, Argentina, and Brazil announced they were sending crews to assist Chile in their search, and will employ infrared technology in an effort to find the wreckage.

Fox News' Greg Norman and The Associated Press contributed to this report