Chile Declares 2-day Mourning for Dead
    2011-09-05 09:47:34     Xinhua       Web Editor: Yu

People mourn for victims of the plane crash in the Juan Fernandez archipelago, outside of the state's television channel TVN, in Santiago, capital of Chile, Sept. 4, 2011. Two days after a military aircraft crashed in the Juan Fernandez archipelago, about 700 kilometers off the coast of Chile, thousands of people have gathered to pay homage to the victims, among whom were the crew members of the TV show "Buenos dias a todos" (Good Morning Everyone), including the host Felipe Camiroaga and some members of the humanitarian mission "Levantemos Chile". Four bodies of the crash victims have been found and identified after a plane crashed Friday afternoon off the shore of Juan Fernandez Islands killing 21 people on board.[Photo:Xinhua]

Chilean President Sebastian Pinera Sunday declared a two-day national mourning for the 21 people who died in a crash of a Chilean air force plane, including some of the country's most popular journalists.

Pinera said a nationwide period of mourning has been decreed for Monday and Tuesday to remember the lives lost in Friday's crash near the remote Juan Fernandez Islands located some 700 kilometers off Chile's Pacific coast.

"The country is feeling a profound sense of loss and pain and because of this I have decided to issue a period of national mourning in solidarity with the victims," said the president, speaking on the sidelines of the military funeral of Erwin Nunez at the headquarters of the Chilean Air Force.

Pinera said eight remains had been recovered.

"So far it has been possible to find four bodies, two women and two men, but it has not been possible to recover any more remains," he said, adding that "great efforts" were underway to locate the remaining 17 bodies.

"We believe that there are no survivors, we can only hope and pray for that all the bodies will be found," he said, citing the difficult geographical and meteorological circumstances at the remote location had complicated search and rescue efforts.

Among those onboard the plane and confirmed dead were Felipe Camiroaga, one of Chile's best known and most popular television presenters, journalists Roberto Bruce and Sylvia Slier of Chile's National Television, and Galia Diaz of the National Council of Culture.

Allamand said earlier that the Defense Ministry has sent a Hercules aircraft to the crash site in addition to the Lynch frigate equipped with a specialized rescue helicopter to help the search efforts. 

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