Human remains found three days after Chilean military plane vanishes

Harriet Brewis
Debris from the plane was found on Wednesday: via REUTERS

Human remains have been found three days after a military plane disappeared with 38 people on board, Chile's Air force has confirmed.

The C-130 aircraft took off from southernmost Chile on Monday bound for an airbase in Antarctica, but lost radio contact shortly after departure.

Debris was found on Wednesday floating roughly 20 miles from the cargo plane’s last known location, but authorities said these would need to be analysed before they could be identified as part of the vessel.

At a press conference on Thursday, Chilean officials confirmed the plane’s wreckage had been found along with the probable remains of its passengers.

Chile's Air Force Commander Arturo Merino speaks during a news conference on Thursday (AP)

The head of Chile's air force Arturo Merino said there were no survivors, adding: “The condition of the remains we discovered make it practically impossible that anyone could have survived the airplane accident.”

The C-130 Hercules vanished shortly after take-off from the southern city of Punta Arenas late on Monday night. It was carrying 21 passengers and 17 crew members, including three civilians.

Extreme weather conditions, including low clouds, strong winds and massive ocean swells initially complicated search efforts following the plane's disappearance.

Relatives of the missing passengers arrive at the air force base in Punta Arenas (REUTERS)

The first pieces of debris from the plane were discovered by Chilean air force officials late on Wednesday. A Brazilian ship sailing in the region also found pieces of the plane.

The plane crashed over the Drake Sea, a vast untouched ocean wilderness off southern South America that plunges to depths of 3,500 metres.

Mr Merino said authorities would immediately conduct forensic analyses of the remains to confirm their origin.

Relatives of those missing have been informed.