Death and state funeral of Sebastián Piñera

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On 6 February 2024, the Chilean government confirmed the death of former president Sebastián Piñera at the age of 74. He died in a helicopter accident while on vacation in the commune of Lago Ranco, located in the southern Chilean region of Los Ríos. The helicopter crashed about 40 meters from the southern shore of Lake Ranco at Ilihue, east of Lago Ranco.

Death and state funeral of Sebastián Piñera
Death and state funeral of Sebastián Piñera - Wikidata
Death and state funeral of Sebastián Piñera - Wikidata
Death and state funeral of Sebastián Piñera - Wikidata
Death and state funeral of Sebastián Piñera - Wikidata
Death and state funeral of Sebastián Piñera - Wikidata
Clockwise from top, top to bottom, left to right :
  1. President Boric, former Presidents Ruiz-Tagle and Bachelet, and Senate President Coloma stands beside Piñera's coffin during the lying in state in La Moneda Palace
  2. Members of La Moneda Palace Guard carrying Piñera's coffin out of the building after lying in state to proceed to Santiago Metropolitan Cathedral
  3. Funeral mass for Piñera in Santiago Metropolitan Cathedral
  4. The scene at La Moneda, where Piñera was given lying in state ceremony, before his coffin headed to Santiago Metropolitan Cathedral
  5. President Boric gives his last respect to Piñera as the latter headed to Santiago Metropolitan Cathedral for the funeral mass
  • 6 February 2024 (2024-02-06) (date of death)
  • 9 February 2024 (2024-02-09) (date of state funeral)
TypeDeath and state funeral
CauseHelicopter crash
Organised byGovernment of Chile (state funeral)

Later that evening, President Gabriel Boric, in an address from La Moneda, announced three days of national mourning and declared that Piñera would receive a state funeral.

Former Chilean President Sebastián Piñera (1949-2024; pictured in 2018)


Lake Ranco helicopter crash
Map of the Lake Ranco helicopter crash in which Sebastián Piñera died
Date6 February 2024 (2024-02-06)
SummaryCrashed into lake shortly after takeoff, under investigation
SiteLago Ranco, Chile
Aircraft typeRobinson R44 Raven II
Crew1 (Sebastián Piñera)
Fatalities1 (Piñera)

Sebastián Piñera owned a residence in the Coique Bay area of the Futrono commune. On 6 February 2024, he attended a lunch with his sister Magdalena, businessman Ignacio Guerrero, and Ignacio's son Bautista at the home of businessman José Cox in the Ilihue sector of the Lago Ranco commune. Piñera piloted his Robinson R44 Raven II helicopter, with registration CC-PHP, across the lake from his residence. After lunch, as the return flight began, the helicopter lost control just a few meters from the shore, making contact with the surface of the water and capsizing into Lake Ranco in the Ilihue sector near the take-off site. The Carabineros de Chile received a report of the crash at 14:57 (UTC−03:00), with initial reports indicating one fatality and three survivors.

Close associates of the former president noted that the vehicle's visibility might have been compromised due to fogged windows. Less than 40 minutes passed between the alert call and Piñera's body being handed over to Carabineros. Former minister Karla Rubilar told the press that, according to his sister Magdalena, who was aboard the helicopter, his final words were: "You jump first, because if I jump with you, the helicopter will fall on all of us."

Piñera's body was recovered by the Chilean Navy from a depth of 28 m (92 ft). His death was confirmed around 17:00 through a statement from his press office and a statement from Minister of the Interior and Public Security, Carolina Tohá. The General Directorate of Civil Aeronautics confirmed that the other three occupants of the aircraft survived. At the time of the crash, there was a strong storm in the area. According to La Nación, Piñera survived the crash itself, but the impact left him unconscious and unable to remove his safety belt, resulting in his drowning. His three companions managed to swim to shore.

State funeral

Arrival of Sebastián Piñera's coffin to Santiago and start of the state funeral
Institutional tribute to Sebastián Piñera at the Former National Congress of Chile building

After Piñera's death was confirmed, President Gabriel Boric announced a three-day national mourning period in a televised address shortly after 18:00. He also disclosed plans for a state funeral, with Foreign Minister Alberto van Klaveren designated to lead the organizing committee. Boric praised Piñera as a "democrat from the very beginning."

Funeral mass of Sebastián Piñera at the Metropolitan Cathedral
President Gabriel Boric and La Moneda Palace Guard pay tribute to former President Sebastián Piñera

The funeral proceedings began when a Chilean Air Force (FACh) plane carrying Piñera's remains, following an autopsy in Valdivia, landed at Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport in Santiago. President Gabriel Boric, accompanied by some ministers, received the remains and the family at the FACh Group 10 ramp. Subsequently, the Air Force rendered honors, and the procession proceeded to the former National Congress building, where Piñera's remains lay in state until the morning of 9 February. Afterward, the remains were transferred to the Santiago Metropolitan Cathedral for a funeral mass. Following the mass, the remains were taken to the Parque del Recuerdo Cemetery for a private burial at the Piñera family crypt, with a homage paid at La Moneda Palace by the palace guard and President Boric along the way.

Confirmed attendees





President Gabriel Boric said that Piñera's death moved and mourned the country in already difficult circumstances due to the 2024 Chile wildfires. Furthermore, he declared that "with deep regret I want to express my condolences that I personally conveyed to his daughters, his family, all those close to him and those who were part of his two governments". Former president Michelle Bachelet expressed deep regret over Piñera's death and said she valued his "commitment to our country and democracy, as well as his tireless work and service to the nation".[citation needed] Minister of the Interior Carolina Tohá expressed shock at Piñera's death and conveyed her solidarity to his family and friends; she also described Piñera as "a democratic president".[citation needed]

Daniel Jadue, the mayor of Recoleta, expressed regret at Piñera's death despite their "deep differences",[citation needed] and sent condolences to his family, friends and party. Piñera's former labor minister Evelyn Matthei described him as "a great friend, a great leader. Passionate about Chile, passionate about life," and gave "the most sincere condolences to Cecilia and her entire family."[citation needed] Piñera's former education and social development minister Joaquín Lavín offered his prayers to Piñera's family.[citation needed]

Former conservative presidential candidate José Antonio Kast declared that Piñera "was a great public servant and gave the best years of his life to serving Chile".[citation needed]

Television host Mario Kreutzberger described Piñera as "always very friendly and willing to collaborate with us. His life and career were undoubtedly marked by his vocation for public service, which led him to the presidency of Chile twice."[citation needed] Television personality Martín Cárcamo also offered his condolences, stating "I interviewed him many times and, more than once, we were able to talk off camera. Always willing and open to a conversation, whether it was about big country topics or simple and beautiful conversations about life itself."[citation needed]

The Colo-Colo association football club, which was previously partially owned by Piñera, expressed condolences over his death.[citation needed] Pablo Milad, the president of the National Professional Football Association (ANFP) expressed his condolences, noting that Piñera would be remembered as "a person who was always interested in the development and modernization of Chilean football, in improving and renewing the infrastructure of our stadiums and promote a culture of sports practice and healthy living among Chileans."[citation needed] In addition, he confirmed that Piñera will be honored along with the victims of the forest fires in central Chile with a minute of silence prior to the 2024 Supercopa de Chile.[citation needed]

Following news of Piñera's death, Televisión Nacional de Chile modified its logo by adding the color black as an expression of mourning.[citation needed]

Jimmy Sánchez, one of the 33 miners rescued during the 2010 Copiapó mining accident, said that it was a pleasure to meet Piñera, and said that he was grateful that "he gave us our lives back."



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