4 Bodies Found after Chile Air Force Plane Crashes

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Four bodies have so far been found in the Pacific Ocean from a Chilean air force plane carrying 21 people that disappeared on its way to a remote archipelago, the military said Saturday.

"So far we have found two female bodies and two male bodies; in none of the cases have they been identified," said Air Force chief Maximiliano Larraechea.

The airplane suffered "a violent accident that surely no person could survive, but we are still hopeful," Larraechea said.

A major search operation was launched late Friday in the waters around the Juan Fernandez islands, some 700 kilometers (435 miles) from the South American coastline, and some debris from the missing plane has been located in the sea.

Defense Minister Andres Allamand said the plane, a turboprop-powered Casa 212, made two attempts to land on the main island but failed, "after which contact was lost."

The air force earlier said that as the aircraft was "getting closer to the island, radio communication with the plane was lost," prompting a search effort to be launched by Chile's navy and air force.

Among those onboard was popular Chilean television host Felipe Camiroaga, who past part of a crew from TVN who were heading to the archipelago to report on how it was rebuilding after being hit by a tsunami following a huge February 2010 earthquake.

Tributes poured in from across the southern continent for the victims including the well-liked TV personality.

The burial of former president Salvador Allende, planned for Sunday, was meanwhile postponed due to the crash, with the late leader's foundation saying it would be held at a later date.

Allende's remains had been exhumed and examined in a bid to unravel mysteries surrounding his demise amid the 1973 coup. Experts concluded he had committed suicide, and was not murdered as some had alleged.

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