The Chilean Air Force reported on Monday the disappearance of one of its cargo planes that was headed to a base in Antarctica with 38 people on board. The Hercules C130 aircraft took off at 4:55 pm (1955 GMT) from the southern city of Punta Arenas and operators lost contact with it shortly after 6:00 pm.

C-130 Hercules
The C-130 Hercules carried 17 crew members and 21 passengers, including three civilians.Reuters | Representational

It said the military had declared an alert after communication with the plane was lost, and activated search and rescue teams. "On board the C130 Hercules are 38 people, of which 17 are crew members of the aircraft and 21 are passengers," the Air Force said in a statement.

President Sebastián Piñera said via Twitter that he was with his defense and interior ministers at the air force headquarters monitoring developments.

chile president tweet

The aircraft was travelling to perform logistical support tasks for the maintenance of Chilean facilities at the Antarctic base. The air force said late Monday that the weather good at the time contact was lost.

(With Reuters inputs)