The Ministry of Agriculture in Chile has confirmed that a pilot working for the National Forestry Corporation (CONAF) has died following a plane crash near Panguilemo Airport (TLX).
According to CONAF, the Ayres Turbo Trush aircraft was carrying out fire control work on January 15, 2024, when the plane lost control at around 4:30 pm local time.
In footage captured by a witness the aircraft’s wing appeared to clip wires hanging between two utility poles causing a momentary spark, before the Turbo Thrush onto Route 5 South in Talca, Maule Region.
On impact with the highway the plane was engulfed in flames and the pilot, Fernando Solans, was killed.
“CONAF extends its condolences to the family of Mr. Solans, who becomes part of the legacy of martyrs who have given their lives to safeguard the heritage of our country, and thus protect the lives of its inhabitants,” a spokesperson for the agency said.
It is understood that four people who were traveling in a vehicle on the highway at the time were also injured.
CONAF confirmed it is working with authorities investigating the accident to determine what caused the crash.
Pilot killed and several persons injured on the ground when his aircraft struck a utility pole and crashed onto the highway near Panguilemo, Chile. pic.twitter.com/xIzRLPzryn— Breaking Aviation News & Videos (@aviationbrk) January 16, 2024
“He was a Spanish pilot, from Valencia, and in Spain he was chief pilot. He had a lot of experience in the company with which we have seven aircraft operating in Chile,” the Executive Director of CONAF, Christian Little, said.
“He was a very experienced pilot,” he reiterated.
The plane was operated by the airline company Air Andes SPA, which provides services to CONAF.