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Sebastian Pinera, former president of Chile, killed in helicopter crash

Sebastian Piñera addresses supporters at his closing campaign rally in Santiago in November 2017 (AP)
Sebastian Piñera addresses supporters at his closing campaign rally in Santiago in November 2017 (AP)

Sebastián Piñera, the former president of Chile, has died in a helicopter crash, his office has confirmed. He was 74.

In a statement to Chilean media, the former president’s office confirmed he had died in a helicopter accident. His death was first reported by local media, according to Reuters.

SENAPRAD, the country’s national disaster agency, confirmed that there had been a helicopter crash in Lago Ranco, a town in the southern part of Chile.

Mr Piñera was reportedly the only person killed in the crash, while three others were injured.

In a televised address, Interior Minister Carolina Tohá said the aircraft had crashed into Lake Ranco, and that the three other passengers swam to shore, according to the New York Times. The Chilean Navy recovered Mr Piñera’s body from the wreckage, she said.

Mr Piñera, a businessman and billionaire, served as president from 2010 to 2014, and again from 2018 to 2022. He was married and a father of four.

The conservative politician was credited with steering Chile towards significant economic growth and decreased unemployment in his first term as president.

In his second term, widespread protests broke out across Chile, with demonstrators calling for change amid stark economic inequality. Mr Piñera ultimately agreed that the country would hold a vote to rewrite the constitution.

He also led the country through numerous natural disasters and the Covid-19 pandemic.