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Chile air force plane disappears over Pacific, world news , world news

A Chilean air force plane carrying 21 people has disappeared over the Pacific Ocean on its way to the remote Juan Fernandez islands, the government said.

Chilean Defence Minister Andres Allamand said the Casa-212 plane had twice tried to land at the islands' airport before going missing.

The islands' mayor said conditions were rough and windy, and remains of the plane had been spotted in the water.

A TV crew were onboard, including popular presenter Felipe Camiroaga.

They were on their way to the islands to report on the aftermath of last year's devastating earthquake and tsunami.

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

Mayor Gonzalez told state television TVN that some wreckage, including passengers' suitcases, had been found in waters about one kilometre (0.6 mile) from the islands' landing strip.

Mr Allamand said a navy frigate had been sent with a helicopter to carry out search and rescue work, and that a Hercules 130 plane was about to join the search.

The Juan Fernandez islands lie around 420 miles (670 km) off Chile's coast.

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