Ex-president Chile Sebastian Pinera killed in helicopter crash

74-year-old Sebastian Pinera served in presidential office from 2010 to 2014 and again from 2018 to 2022

Former Chiles President Sebastian Pinera delivers a statement at the Government House in Santiago, Chile. — Reuters/File
Former Chile’s President Sebastian Pinera delivers a statement at the Government House in Santiago, Chile. — Reuters/File

Authorities in Chile confirmed Tuesday the death of former president Sebastian Pinera in a helicopter crash in Los Ríos, with officials still in process to ascertain the cause of the incident. 

Minister of Interior Carolina Tohá said in a statement that four people were onboard including the billionaire however, the other three survived the crash and were in stable condition. 

The navy recovered the body of Sebastian Pinera.

The 74-year-old served in the presidential office from 2010 to 2014 and again from 2018 to 2022.

Chilean President Gabriel Boric announced three days of national mourning upon his death and a state funeral is to be arranged for the late leader.

Chile was already seeing days of national mourning as the wildfire in the coastal state killed over 120 people.

Tohá’s said in a statement: “Chile’s government “expresses its shock due to this tragedy, extends its hug in solidarity to the former president’s family, to those close to him, but also to all Chileans.”

Pinera acquired his education in Chile and at Harvard University in the United States.

According to Forbes, his net worth was estimated at $2.7 billion. He was the founder of a credit card company Banco which he founded in the 1970s. During his presidency, he divested his assets as per the campaign promise.

“He genuinely sought what he thought was best for the country,” Boric said Tuesday. “For example, when he took on the reconstruction of the country after the February 27, 2010, earthquake, or when he took risks … to rescue the 33 miners from the San Jose mine, and more recently, in managing the pandemic in times of global uncertainty.”

Regional leaders mourned Pinera’s passing. “I met President Pinera several years ago. He always had a positive attitude towards Uruguay and me personally. As an example… his support with the logistics offered for the arrival of vaccines during the pandemic,” Uruguay’s President Luis Lacalle Pou wrote on X.

Argentinian President Javier Milei also sent his condolences in a post on X. 

“On behalf of the state of Argentina, we send our condolences to the family, friends, and people of Chile,” he wrote.

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