Copter crash in Chile forest fire region kills 14

Copter crash in Chile forest fire region kills 14

15 February 2009

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Chile — Fourteen people were killed on Sunday when their helicopter crashed in a region of south-central Chile where authorities are grappling with a rash of forest fires, a local official said.

The helicopter, which belongs to a forestry company, crashed in the Maule region around 185 miles (300 kilometres) south of the capital, Santiago. Local radio reported those killed were firefighters working for the company, but there was no official confirmation.

“All we know is that the people are dead,” Maria del Carmen Perez, interim head of the Maule region administration, told local radio. “Once the regional emergency team arrives, we will have a clearer picture.”

Chile has been grappling with a series of forest fires mainly in southern wooded areas, where fires are sparked each summer amid dry, hot conditions.

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