Chile: Netizens Pay Tribute to Plane Crash Victims

On the afternoon of Friday September 2, 2011, Chileans received bad news: the disappearance [es] of the CASA 212 airplane from FACH, the Chilean Airforce [es], headed for the Juan Fernandez archipelago.

Among the 21 passengers [es] was a team from the NGO Desafío Levantemos Chile (Mission Lift Chile) [es] which aims to continue efforts to reconstruct the archipelago, one of the places most affected by the tsunami caused by the 8.8-magnitude earthquake that hit Chile on February 27, 2010. Five employees of TVN (Chile National Television) [es] were travelling to support this initiative, including the well-known television presenter Felipe Camiroaga.

Felipe Camiroaga, presenter for Buenos Días a Todos. Photo by Felipe Araos on Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Felipe Camiroaga, presenter for Buenos Días a Todos. Photo by Felipe Araos on Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Felipe Cubillos (@felipenavegante), leader of Levantemos Chile and a passenger on the plane, tweeted enthusiastically before disappearing:

Viajando ahora a la isla de Juan Fernandez con el apoyo de nuestra Fuerza Aerea. Seguimos trabajando en ayudar a gente de la Isla

Now travelling to the Island of Juan Fernandez with the support of our Airforce. We continue to work in helping the people of the island

Newspaper La Tercera uploaded a video of TVN's report [es] of the accident –the video was immediately shared by netizens on Twitter.

Publicist and blogger Roberto Arancibia (@RobertoA) informed:

Avioneta caída en Juan Fernández, personal de TVN: Camiroaga, Bruce y más, dice @ADNRAdioChile [es]. Informará Allamand, atentos!

Plane crash in Juan Fernández, TVN personnel aboard: Camiroaga, Bruce and others, says @ADNRAdioChile. [Minister of Defense] Allamand will be giving more information, pay attention!

Sigrid (@sigridps) confirmed:

es verdad lo del avión de juan fernández y lo del equipo de buenos días a todos, no han confirmado muertes, sólo desaparecidos.

[the news] about the plane in Juan Fernandez and the ‘Buenos Días a Todos’ team are true, no deaths confirmed, just missing persons.

Soon, netizens started reporting on the story and hoping for good news. The hashtag #Camiroaga and Juan Ferández became worldwide trending topics on Twitter.

Twitter user José Duarte (@_josesita_) expressed hope:

Los 33 también se dieron por muertos… Los milagros existen, no perder la FE #juanfernandez#camiroaga#TVN

The 33 [miners] were expected to be dead… Miracles do happen, don't lose FAITH #juanfernandez#camiroaga#TVN

Poet and student Gisella Uribe R. (@Tengo_Frio) pointed out:

Espero que los encuentren con vida, que dejen de hacer chistes, que los hipócritas dejen de rezar, y que ni un político se aproveche de esto

I hope that they find survivors, that they stop making jokes, that the hypocrites stop praying, and that not one politician take advantage of this

Sigrid (@sigridps) commented:

lancha de armada de chile se encuentra en operativo de búsqueda, condiciones climáticas adversas, alcalde está pesimista.

the Chilean coast guard is on a search and rescue mission, in adverse climate conditions, the mayor is pessimistic.

Twitter user Macuer (@franciscomacuer) said:

Felipe Paredes, Jefe Torre, de Juan Fernandez, señala que el viento impidio aterrizar avion y luego los dejo de ver #camiroaga

Felipe Paredes, tower controller from Juan Fernandez, highlights that the wind impeded the plane from landing and that he stopped seeing them #camiroaga

Immediately search parties spread out, led by the armed forces and the inhabitants of the island themselves, as graphic design student Miguel Rosas pointed out (@Matehuas):


Exposition of Felipe Cubillos, founder of the  project "Desafío Levantemos Chile". Photo on Flickr by JóvenesxChile  (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Exposition of Felipe Cubillos, founder of the project "Desafío Levantemos Chile". Photo on Flickr by JóvenesxChile (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Many people turned up at TVN's facilities with candles and prayers, hoping for a miracle.

However, bad news arrived on the night of September 3, when Andrés Allamand, Minister of Defence and brother in law to Felipe Cubillos, confirmed [es] that there were no survivors.

Condolences flooded cyberspace.

Paths Chile wrote on Facebook:

Con un inmenso dolor anhelamos que descansen en eterna paz los 21 integrantes que viajaban a Juan Fernández… entre ellos Felipe Camiroaga… tremendo hombre, inmensamente humano y noble

With deepest sympathy, we wish the 21 members that were travelling to Juan Fernandez eternal peace… among them Felipe Camiroaga… wonderful man, extremely humane and noble

Ketty C (@ketty_dic31) lamented:

Mis condolencias sinceras y de todo corazón a las familia de #los21 [es]Q.E.P.D. … esto es demasiado doloroso :(

My sincere condolences from all my heart to the families #los21 [the 21] R.I.P. … this is too painful:-(

Mexican singer Lucero also mentioned her grief about the news from her Twitter account (@LuceroMexico) with reference to her friend Felipe Camiroaga:

Amigo mío.Que tu vuelo cruce los cielos y nos derrame el amor, la pasión con la que viviste siempre.Vivirás en mi recuerdo PERMANENTEMENTE.

My friend. May your flight cross the heavens and spread your love upon us, with the passion that you lived your life with, always. You will live in my memory FOREVER.

Besides the fame of the victims, the humanitarian effort and their strong community ties made the tragedy even more significant for the entire country. As journalist Miguel Ortiz (@ortizmiguel) wrote:

Mi papá me solía decir: “¿Cómo ganarse el Cielo? Que la muerte nos pille haciendo el bien”. ¿En qué estaban #Los21?[es] Levantando CHILE!

My father always used to say: “How do you get to heaven? Let death catch us doing good.” What were #Los21 doing? Lifting CHILE!


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