Sebastian Piñera, former Chilean president, dies in helicopter crash

Former Chilean President Sebastian Piñera died Tuesday February 6 in a helicopter crash in the south of the country, his office announced in a statement

Sebastian Piñera, former Chilean president, dies in helicopter crash

Former Chilean President Sebastian Piñera died Tuesday February 6 in a helicopter crash in the south of the country, his office announced in a statement. “It is with deep regret that we announce the death of the former President of the Republic of Chile, Sebastian Piñera Echenique,” ​​it was written.

His death was confirmed by Carolina Toha, the interior minister in the government of left-wing President Gabriel Boric. She clarified that the body of the former president has been found. Three other people who were on board the helicopter survived the accident, authorities said. “[Mr. Piñera] will receive all the republican honors and recognition he deserves,” added Ms. Toha.

Mr. Piñera, a savvy businessman, often traveled in his own helicopter. He was a former shareholder in the country's national airline, with stakes in a television network and other businesses.

Two mandates between 2010 and 2014, then between 2018 and 2022

The former conservative president, 74, had led the country for two terms, between 2010 and 2014, then between 2018 and 2022. When his death was announced in the National Assembly, the deputies observed a minute of silence in his tribute.

During his first term, the country experienced rapid economic growth and a sharp decline in unemployment, even as many of the country's neighbors and trading partners experienced slow growth.

His second term, however, was marked by violent demonstrations against social inequalities. In response, the government launched the process of drafting a new Constitution to replace the one dating from the 1970s under the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet. During this second term, Chile notably adopted in December 2021 marriage for all and the possibility for married homosexual couples to be able to adopt children.

Mr. Piñera's mandates had also been marked by suspicions of conflicts of interest in the sale of a mining company in 2010, carried out in a tax haven, according to information revealed by the "Pandora Papers". The leader then narrowly escaped impeachment by Parliament in November 2021, but ended his second term very unpopular.