A C-130 Hercules military transport aircraft operated by the Chilean Air Force has reportedly crashed near Drake Passage, according to the Chilean Air Force.

With 38 people on board, the aircraft was on its way to the Chilean base Presidente Eduardo Frei Montalva in Antarctica. The C-130 took off at 4.55pm local time (7.55pm GMT) from the city of Punta Arenas and lost radio contact an hour later.

The aircraft was carrying 17 crew and 21 passengers, including three civilians. The airforce said that the personnel were travelling to provide logistic support at the military base.

It went missing in a region known as Drake Passage, which is a body of water located between South America’s Cape Horn and Antarctica.

The military aircraft was 450 miles from its take-off location and 320 miles from the Antarctica base.

Chilean Air Force officials stated that the local weather was good for the C-130 Hercules to undertake the mission and that the aircraft was in good condition.

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The airforce has not yet located the specific location of the aircraft or its remains.

The military service has launched search and rescue operations. Uruguay, Argentina and the US have joined Chile in the search for the missing aircraft and people.

Built by Lockheed Martin, the C-130 Hercules is used for airlift missions to airdrop forces and equipment.

The aircraft can carry a maximum payload of up to 42,000lb. It is used by the US Air Force and other international forces. The C-130J is the latest model in the series.