Former Chilean President Sebastián Piñera died Tuesday in a helicopter crash.

Piñera, 74, was president of the South American country from 2010 to 2014 and from 2018 to 2022.

Chile Interior Minister Carolina Tohá confirmed the former president’s death.

No immediate details were released regarding the cause of the helicopter crash.

Buenos Aires Herald reports:

Former Chilean president Sebastián Piñera died in a helicopter crash on Tuesday afternoon in the southern region of Los Ríos, according to government sources cited by local news outlet La Tercera.


Chile’s national disaster agency SENAPRAD confirmed that a helicopter crash had occurred in the southern town of Lago Ranco and that one person had been killed and three people injured. According to La Tercera, there were four people board the helicopter when it crashed and three had been “found by first responders.”

Per Just the News:

Three passengers survived the crash. CNN reported that the area was experiencing considerable rainfall at the time of the crash, though the impact of the adverse weather conditions on the crash remains unclear.

Piñera was known to often fly his own helicopter but it was not clear if he was the pilot on the fatal flight, according to the New York Times.

He led the country from 2010-2014 and 2018-2022 and oversaw Santiago’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. He was the first conservative-leaning leader of Chile since Augusto Pinochet lost power in 1990. Pinochet seized power in 1973 through a military coup against President Salvador Allende.

The helicopter crash occurred as the country faces devastating wildfires that have killed over 100 people.

Chile Burned To The Ground: “It’s Maui All Over Again!”

From The Guardian:

The death toll from wildfires that ravaged central Chile for several days has risen to 131, and more than 300 people remain missing as the blazes appear to be burning themselves out.

The fires in the Valparaíso region are said to be Chile’s deadliest disaster since an earthquake in 2010. Officials have suggested that some of the fires could have been lit intentionally.

President Gabriel Boric announced during a visit to the region that furniture used for the 2023 Pan American Games would be donated to victims. He said the government would also forgive the water bills for 9,200 affected homes.

The fires began on Friday on the mountainous eastern edge of Viña del Mar, a beach resort known for its Latin music festival. Two other cities, Quilpué and Villa Alemana, were also hit hard as the fires spread quickly in dry weather and strong winds.

The Viña del Mar festival cancelled its opening gala as a mark of mourning. Many participating singers, including Alejandro Sanz, Pablo Alborán and Maná, sent messages of solidarity and announced donations.

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