Former Chilean President Sebastian Pinera passed away in a helicopter crash, causing grief throughout the nation he led for two terms, according to Reuters.
The helicopter carrying Pinera and three others crashed into a lake in southern Chile, with the former president pronounced dead upon rescue personnel’s arrival. However, the other three passengers survived.
Although two sources claimed Pinera was piloting the helicopter, officials have yet to confirm this, along with the intended destination of the flight.
Pinera, known for spending summers near Chile’s picturesque lakes and often piloting his own helicopter, met his untimely end near Lago Ranco.
President Gabriel Boric declared three days of national mourning, with preparations underway for a state funeral on Friday to honor the late leader, who served two non-consecutive terms from 2010 to 2022.
Interior Minister Carolina Toha confirmed Pinera’s body was recovered from the lake, emphasizing his dedication to public service.
Pinera gained international recognition for overseeing the miraculous rescue of 33 miners trapped in the Atacama desert in 2010, an event immortalized in the film “The 33.”
Despite his successes, Pinera faced criticism domestically for perceived detachment from Chile’s evolving society and the handling of protests during both his terms.
Following his presidency, Pinera remained politically active, advocating for causes like constitutional reform and supporting conservative leaders across Latin America.
Former Argentine President Mauricio Macri mourned Pinera’s death, praising his commitment to Chile and democratic values in Latin America.
Pinera, a Harvard-educated economist and successful entrepreneur, amassed significant wealth through ventures like credit cards and major investments, earning a place on Forbes’ global rich list.
Remembered as a driven yet controversial figure, Pinera’s legacy is marked by his contributions to Chilean politics, economics, and society, leaving behind a mixed reputation and a grieving family.