Former President of Chile, Sebastian Pinera, has tragically died in a helicopter crash.
The Interviews Nigeria gathered that the devastating incident which happened on Tuesday (yesterday) has plunged the nation into mourning, and leaders from across Latin America have expressed their heartfelt condolences.
It was reported that the helicopter, carrying Pinera and three other individuals, crashed into a lake in southern Chile.
Despite the efforts of rescue personnel, Pinera was pronounced dead at the scene. Fortunately, the other three passengers survived the crash.
Though Reuters quoted sources as saying that Pinera was the pilot, officials have yet to confirm this information, as well as the intended destination of the helicopter.
It is worth noting that Pinera was known for spending his summers near the beautiful lakes of southern Chile and often took the role of piloting his own helicopter.
In response to the devastating incident, President Gabriel Boric has declared three days of national mourning in the country, The Interviews Nigeria reports.
Additionally, preparations are underway for a state funeral on Friday to honour the former leader, who served two non-consecutive terms from 2010 to 2022.
Also confirming the incident, the country’s Interior Minister, Carolina Toha, reportedly told journalists that the ex-president’s body had been recovered from the lake, near the town of Lago Ranco.
“We remember him for the way he dedicated his life to public service,” said Toha, who has been helping to lead efforts to battle deadly wildfires in recent days.
Pinera gained international recognition for his leadership in the remarkable rescue of 33 miners trapped beneath the Atacama desert in 2010. This event garnered significant media attention worldwide and even inspired a movie titled “The 33” in 2014.
Within Chile, Pinera was primarily known as a successful businessman. Although his first term as president saw rapid economic growth, he often faced criticism for being disconnected from the rapidly evolving society of the country.
Both of his presidencies were marked by frequent protests. In his first term, students demanded education reform, while his second term witnessed widespread and sometimes violent demonstrations against inequality. These protests ultimately led to the government’s commitment to drafting a new constitution.
Even after leaving the presidency, Pinera remained actively involved in politics. He voiced his opinions on various issues, such as the failed attempt to draft a new constitution. Additionally, he supported conservative politicians in the region, including Argentine President Javier Milei.
Former Argentine, President Mauricio Macri, has also sent his condolences to the country and family of the deceased.
“He was a good person, committed like no one else to Chile and to the values of freedom and democracy in Latin America,” he said.