Human remains have been found that could belong to people on board a missing Chilean military plane, air force commander Arturo Merino said on Thursday.
“Together with parts of the plane, human remains have been found that very probably belonged to the passengers,” news website Emol quoted Merino as saying.
He said it was “practically impossible” that any of the 38 people on board had survived.
The air force on Wednesday announced the discovery of debris that could be from the plane, which disappeared on Tuesday with 17 crew and 21 passengers on board.
The C-130 Hercules took off from the Chabunco air base in Punta Arenas, in the south of the country, at 4:55 pm (1955 GMT) on Tuesday and lost radio contact at 6:13 pm when it was 500 kilometres from its destination.
It was headed to Chile’s most important Antarctic base, Presidente Eduardo Montalva Base.
The plane was carrying logistics staff, transferring personnel sent to revise the floating fuel supply pipeline of the base and to perform anti-corrosive treatment on facilities in the area.
The search has focused on areas in the Drake Passage, a body of water connecting the South Pacific and South Atlantic oceans, where the plane was flying when contact with it was lost.