Nine survivors found four days after plane crash in Chile

Chilean Air Force commandos rescued Wednesday nine survivors of a weekend single-engine plane crash in Patagonia, dpa reported.

Acting Interior Minister Felipe Harboe confirmed that pilot Nelson Bahamondes - aged 60 and with 16,000 hours of flying in the area - was the only fatal victim of the accident.

The small plane, a Cessna 208 Caravan, crashed Saturday on a steep forest in Patagonia, some 15 kilometres from the village of La Junta and some 1,600 kilometres south of Chilean capital.

"(Bahamondes) was an excellent pilot. The fact that everyone else is alive is proof of that," said Lake District Governor Sergio Galilea.

Only five of the crash survivors suffered injuries, thanks to the fact that the pilot dampened the effect by crashing the plane into treetops.

"(Survivors) are in good condition, even quite good," Galilea added.

The injured were to be taken to Puerto Montt for further treatment.

The rescue was launched after military officers saw the survivors from one of four helicopters flying over the area, which can only be reached with great difficulty by land.

Defence Minister Jose Goni said Wednesday that rescue teams were only progressing one kilometre per day.

Survivors were found in the area where the last signals from the automatic radio transmission mechanism were detected Tuesday, at an altitude of some 1,000 metres, said Air Force Coronel Jorge Gebauer.

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