Chilean President Gabriel Boric Tuesday decreed three days of mourning for the death of his predecessor Sebastián Piñera (2010-2014 and 2018-2022) in a helicopter crash. He also praised the Conservative leader for his crisis management skills after the 2010 earthquake and during the Covid-19 pandemic. Boric also announced that the two-time President Piñera would receive full honors and a state funeral.
With deep sorrow, I want to express my condolences to his family and all those close to him and those who were part of his two governments, especially I send a warm fraternal embrace to his wife Cecilia Morel, and children Magdalena, Cecilia, Sebastián and Cristóbal, Boric said in a broadcast message.
Foreign Minister Alberto Van Klaveren has been entrusted with the funeral arrangements, it was also reported from La Moneda.
President Piñera contributed from his vision to build great agreements for the good of the country, he was a democrat from the first hour and genuinely sought what he believed was the best for the country, as -for example- when he assumed the reconstruction of the country after the earthquake of February 27, 2010 or when he played with great determination to rescue the 33 miners of the San José mine or also more recently in the management of the pandemic in times of uncertainty worldwide, Boric went on.
The head of state also said he had contacted former Presidents Eduardo Frei, Ricardo Lagos, and Michelle Bachelet, who will do their best to participate in his funeral.
Chile is all of us and we must dream it, draw it, and build it among all of us, said Sebastián Piñera when he assumed his second presidential term; a strong hug for his family and loved ones in these difficult moments, Boric also underlined leaving aside his discrepancies with the man who once was his political opponent. He genuinely sought what he believed was best for the country, he argued while dubbing Piñera a democrat from the first hour who contributed, from his vision, to build great agreements for the good of the country.
Born in Santiago in 1949, Piñera was traveling on Tuesday, together with three people who managed to be saved, aboard a private helicopter that went down in Lago Ranco, some 780 kilometers south of Santiago. According to local media, the former president was piloting the aircraft and went down when he was unable to unbuckle his seat belt. Interior Minister Carolina Tohá said the Navy had already retrieved Piñera's body.
This fact touches us and mourns us as a country in especially difficult circumstances due to the tragedy of the fires that just in these days has hit many of our compatriots, Boric also said about the deadly wave of wildfires in the Valparaiso region, which have so far left 131 dead and at least another 100 missing.
Piñera's memorial will start at 8 am Wednesday in Valdivia. The body will then be flown on a Chilean Air Force (FACh) aircraft to Santiago to the old Congress building for a private ceremony with the family.
On Thursday, the coffin will pass through La Moneda Palace and later it will be taken to Santiago's Cathedral for a religious service by Archbishop Fernando Chomalí. The burial will take place on Friday at the Parque del Recuerdo cemetery in Huechuraba.