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A Chilean Military Plane With 38 People On Board Crashed While On The Way To A Base In Antarctica

The search is on for clues after a Chilean military plane with 38 people on board crashed on its way to Antarctica on Monday afternoon. The plane, a Hercules C-130 transport, made the last contact at 6:13 p.m. which was around an hour and five minutes after it initially took off. It was 390 miles into its journey to the Base Presidente Eduardo Frei Montalva, a Chilean base on in the northern region of the frozen continent, according to a statement issued by the Chilean Air Force. Seven hours after the plane last made contact, the Chilean air force declared it lost, with no definitive reason as to why it had disappeared. 

According to the New York Times, the aircraft was carrying 17 crew members and 21 passengers, which included a university student and two Chilean civilians who worked for an engineering and construction firm that was contracted to do maintenance work on the Antarctic base.

“The chances are difficult but I think it would be profoundly wrong to lose heart at this moment when we are doing everything humanly possible and with all our energy and determination,” Defence Minister Alberto Espina told reporters. “The air force has provided a thorough investigation to clarify the facts with complete transparency.”

The Chilean military has deployed fighter jets in an expansion of its search. Uruguayan and Argentine air forces have also joined in on efforts.

Chilean officials are now conducting an all-out search for the plane and any clues that might lead them to why the military aircraft might have crashed. Officials said that the plane had taken off in favorable conditions Monday afternoon from the southern city of Punta Arenas, though the area is known for rapidly changing conditions that include freezing temperatures and chilly winds. According to a BBC report, Air Force General Eduardo Mosqueira told the local press that the plane didn’t activate its emergency signal and proposed the idea that the pilot might have tried to land on the frigid waters. 

The Chilean military is now in the midst of search and rescue efforts that include four ships and 10 planes. Joining this mission are the Uruguayan and Argentine air forces, who have each contributed a C-130 plane to help. The United States has also lent a hand by providing two satellite orbits to capture images over the South Pacific Ocean.

The plane is said to have crashed in Drake’s Passage, the sea in the middle of the southern tip of South America and Antarctica, which is known for its severe weather conditions. The area has been known to produce freezing temperatures and harsh storms that have caused other aircrafts to avoid flying through during these conditions. 

“The plane is presumed to have crashed, given that the amount of fuel and the plane’s autonomy had already run out,” said Chilean Air Force General Francisco Torres in a press conference, according to CNN.

South American leaders, including Chilean President Sebastian Piñera, have all expressed their condolences to those lost on the plane and their loved ones. 

This tragedy has prompted an immediate response from Chilean President Sebastián Piñera, who canceled a trip to Argentina, where he was expected to attend the swearing-in ceremony of President-elect Alberto Fernandez. Instead, Piñera headed to the Cerrillos airbase in Santiago, Chile where he joined rescue operations and families of the plane’s passengers gathered. He reiterated the message that the Chilean government would spare no effort to find the plane.

“My thoughts and prayers are with the families of the 38 crew members and passengers of the FACh (Air Force) C-130 plane,” Piñera wrote on Twitter. “With the help of many we are making every effort humanly possible in the search operation for the plane.”

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro also tweeted words of support saying that his government is doing all that is possible to help with search efforts. “We offer Chile support for the search and rescue operations of the Chilean plane, which disappeared in the Drake Strait with 38 people on board. We have already spoken to President Piñera and ask God that all those involved will be successful in the rescue.”

The plane crash comes at a difficult time for Chile and President Piñera, who has overseen a country displeased with socioeconomic disparity, vast systemic corruption, and other government abuses. All of this has led to almost two months of riots in the capital city of Santiago. 

READ: This Kid Is Going Viral In Mexico For Using His $70 Peso Winning Lottery To Buy Tacos For A Man In Need

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Vanessa Guillen’s Abuela Traveled From Zacatecas to Say Goodbye To Her While Further Seeking Justice

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Vanessa Guillen’s Abuela Traveled From Zacatecas to Say Goodbye To Her While Further Seeking Justice

Sergio Flores / Getty Images

Update: Vanessa Guillen’s abuela, Lorenza Almanza, made the trip to the U.S. by bus to be with her family. Almanza is here to say goodbye to her granddaughter and to continue to bring attention to the need for justice.

Vanessa Guillen’s abuela is in the U.S. as the demand for justice in the case grows.

“I just want justice for my little Vanessa because she did not deserve this,” Almanza told Telemundo. She added: “God knows how they made my daughter suffer.”

According to NBC, Almanza brought a bar of chocolate from Zacatecas to leave at her memorial because it was her favorite. Almanza traveled to the U.S. with her children to all pay their respects and be with family. Despite COVID restrictions, the family was given a special visa to cross the border during this time.

Guillen’s murder investigation has rocked the U.S. Army. The 20-year-old soldier went missing in April after attempting to report sexual harassment while at Fort Hood. Months later, her remains were found in a shallow grave. A soldier who was a suspect committed suicide and his girlfriend, a civilian, was arrested.

Original: The search for Vanessa Guillen has ended after human remains were identified as the missing soldier. An investigation into the crime has led to suspects being identified and arrested. Here’s what we know so far.

A soldier, who was a suspect in Vanessa Guillen’s death, committed suicide Wednesday.

Human remains were discovered Tuesday and identified as Vanessa Guillen on Wednesday. The suspects in Guillen’s death have not been named but one of the suspects committed suicide on Wednesday morning. The military suspect shot himself while law enforcement was searching for him.

Tim Miller, the founder of Texas Equusearch, told the Houston Chronicle that he believes the military suspect killed himself at 1:30 a.m. local time. The military suspect, who was in Killeen, Texas, committed suicide shortly after human remains were discovered near the Leon River in Bell County, Texas.

Guillen’s family have expressed their grief at press conferences since the body was identified.

The family is demanding justice. One civilian suspect is currently in jail after being arrested in connection with Guillen’s death. One of Guillen’s sisters recognized the military suspect. Mayra Guillen told the press that she met the military suspect who committed suicide.

“At approximately 1:29 a.m., officers located the suspect in the 4700 block of East Rancier Avenue,” reads the statement from the Killeen Police Department website. “As officers attempted to make contact with the suspect, the suspect displayed a weapon and discharged it towards himself.  The suspect succumbed from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.”

The suspects have not been identified, however, we do have descriptions of the suspects.

“The person who took his own life earlier today in Killeen after being sought by Killeen police and federal marshals was a soldier from Fort Hood and had fled the base earlier in the day,” reads a statement by the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command. “A civilian has been arrested in connection with Vanessa Guillen’s disappearance. The civilian suspect is the estranged wife of a former Fort Hood Soldier and is currently in custody in the Bell County Jail awaiting charges by civilian authorities.”

The case has captivated the nation as some people hurt for the family.

The investigation into Vanessa Guillen’s death is still ongoing. There are no answers yet but her family alleges that Guillen was coming forward with sexual assault and harassment allegations. The family’s recounting of Guillen’s sexual assault allegations is renewing the conversation of sexual assault in the military.

The family is calling out Fort Hood and the military’s response to the disappearance of Guillen. According to the family, they have been pleading with Fort Hood and the U.S. Army to conduct an investigation but saw nothing happening.

READ: Partial Human Remains Found Near Fort Hood Likely Vanessa Guillen’s

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Military Members Are Sharing Stories Of Sexual Assault In The Military Using #IAmVanessaGuillen

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Military Members Are Sharing Stories Of Sexual Assault In The Military Using #IAmVanessaGuillen

David Dee Delgado / Getty Images

Vanessa Guillen went missing on April 22 from a parking lot at Fort Hood. Before going missing, Guillen confided in her family about alleged sexual assault and harassment she faced at the U.S. Army base. Her story sparked an online movement to talk about sexual assault in the military.

Women are using #IAmVanessaGuillen to talk about sexual assault in the U.S. military.

It wasn’t until recently that movements like #MeToo and #TimesUp made it clear that society was done with making excuses for sexual assault. Powerful and influential men have fallen because of their behavior. The disappearance of Vanessa Guillen is shining a renewed light on sexual assault in the military.

The stories range from inappropriate behavior from superiors to rape from fellow soldiers.

Women see themselves reflected in Guillen and her story. Former military women are shedding the shame and fear of coming forward to tell their stories in a public space. The unity on social media is offering women comfort and support as they open up about the most personal thing someone can talk about.

Some of the stories are absolutely heartbreaking.

According to a report from the Defense Department, sexual assault in the U.S. military went up 3 percent between fiscal years 2018 and 2019. The department reported 7,825 reports of sexual assault on service members. However, Pentagon officials assert that the change cannot be characterized as an increase in assaults. A prevalence survey on sexual assault in the military is conducted every other year.

According to some women, the assault and harassment started quickly.

The same study found that sexual assault at the 3 military academies saw a spike of 32 percent. The figures show an increase of 117 reported sexual assaults in 2018 compared to 149 sexual assaults reported in the academies.

“Our Academies produce our future leaders. At every turn, we must drive out misconduct in place of good order and discipline. Our data last year, and the findings from this year’s report, reflect the progress we have made in some areas, and the significant work that remains,” Elizabeth Van Winkle, the executive director of the Office of Force Resiliency, said in a statement obtained by ABC News. “We will not falter in our efforts to eliminate these behaviors from our Academies and to inculcate our expectation that all who serve are treated, and treat others, with dignity and respect.”

Some men have also used the hashtag to share their own experiences.

According to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, 1 out of every 10 rape victims is male. The study also shows that 1 out of every 33 men will experience an attempted or completed sexual assault.

If you or someone you know needs to talk to someone, you can call 1 (800) 656-HOPE (4673) or visit RAINN by clicking here.

READ: Partial Human Remains Found Near Fort Hood During Search For Vanessa Guillen

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