Chilean ex-President Sebastian Pinera died in a helicopter crash on Tuesday, sending the country he led for two terms into mourning and prompting an outpouring of condolences from leaders across Latin America.
The helicopter carrying Pinera, 74, and three others plunged into a lake in southern Chile. The former president was pronounced dead shortly after rescue personnel arrived at the scene. The other three passengers survived.
Two sources told Reuters Pinera was the pilot, although officials have not confirmed that, nor the helicopter's intended destination.
Pinera often spent the Southern Hemisphere summers near the picturesque lakes that dot Chile's south, and frequently piloted his own helicopter.
President Gabriel Boric declared three days of national mourning, while preparations have begun for a state funeral on Friday for the former leader, who served two non-consecutive terms between 2010 and 2022.
Interior Minister Carolina Toha said 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.
In Chile, he was known as a successful businessman whose first term was boosted by rapid economic growth but who was often seen as out-of-touch with the country's fast-changing society.
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