A military transport plane carrying 38 people has disappeared en route to Antarctica.
The C-130 Hercules aircraft was carrying 17 crew members and 21 passengers from Punta Arenas in southern Chile when radio contact was lost Monday evening at 18:13 local time (15:15 GMT).
The Chilean Air Force said the military had declared an alert and activated search and rescue teams to find the personnel who were travelling to provide logistical support in the area.
In a statement, the Chilean Air Force said that after more than seven hours since losing radio contact, the aircraft was declared crashed.
The statement also said that national and international aircraft and vessels available in the area will continue to search in the area, where communication with the C-130 was, to find possible survivors.
The families of those on board are being contacted as the situation unfolds.
The Air Force also published a map indicating the plane's last known location.
Those on board were on their way to check on a floating fuel supply line and other equipment at a Chilean base in the area.
General Eduardo Mosqueira of the Fourth Air Brigade told local media that a search was underway and a ship was in the area where the plane should have been when contact was lost.
General Mosqueira said the aircraft would have been about halfway to the Antarctic base when it lost contact, adding that no emergency signals had been activated.
He said the plane had been scheduled to return on Monday night and that the pilot had extensive experience.
President Sebastián Piñera said in a tweet that the situation is being monitored.
Cover image: A C-130 Chilean aircraft (Picture: Chilean Air Force).