Chile bids farewell to ex-president Pinera in state funeral

Carabineers transport the coffin of Chile's late former President Sebastian Piñera during his state funeral at the National Congress Palace in Santiago on February 9, 2024. (Photo by AFP)

Chile holds a state funeral for former president Sebastian Pinera, who died this week when the helicopter he was piloting plummeted into a lake.

Incumbent President Gabriel Boric as well as his predecessors Michelle Bachelet and Eduardo Frei attended the event at the country's former Congress building in Santiago.

Pinera, 74, died on Tuesday after a flight over Lake Ranco, more than 560 miles (900 kilometers) south of Santiago. 

The crash remained under investigation, but bad weather conditions were reported in the area. As more details of his death were released, tributes hailing him as a champion of democracy continued to pour in.

Pinera was an experienced helicopter pilot, former Defense Minister Alberto Espina said on Tuesday night, and was flying the aircraft in which three other people were also traveling. 

Of the four occupants, the other three passengers survived the crash. The crash occurred shortly after takeoff in an area that Pinera knew well. 

The former president had a summer residence there, which he frequented for adventure sports
Pinera served two terms — from 2010 to 2014 and again from 2018 to 2022.

(Source: AFP) 

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