Air Class Fairchild Metro disappears in Uruguay

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The Uruguayan air force (FAU) is still searching for the wreckage of a local cargo airline's Fairchild Metro III twin-engine turboprop that lost contact with air traffic control on 6 June while flying over the Rio de la Plata river in Uruguay.

The cargo aircraft, operated by Uruguayan airline Air Class Líneas Aéreas, took off from Montevideo's Carrasco airport at 19:45 and was headed to the Ezeiza airport on the outskirts of Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Air Class operates two Fairchild Metro III aircraft but only one in a freighter configuration, according to Flightglobal's Ascend database. The registration of the cargo aircraft is CX-CSS, with the serial number AC642. The data shows that this aircraft accumulated 23,795 flying hours and 27,627 cycles since rolling off the production line in 1986.

Two crew members were on board the flight- 63-year-old Walter Rigo, a retired FAU pilot with more than 16,000 flight hours and 34-year-old Martín Riva with more than 500 flight hours. As of the latest update from the FAU on 7 June, rescue crews had not yet found any sign of wreckage.

The FAU rescue coordination center immediately sent a CASA C212 Aviocar and Eurocopter Dauphin AS365 helicopter to search for the aircraft after it went missing. Throughout 7 June, the air force scoured the search area with two planes and two helicopters, and the Uruguayan navy and the local coast guard also sent vessels to aid in the search.

The FAU said it would continue to search the area on 8 June, adding a Navy ship equipped with sonar to its rescue fleet to search the riverbed for signs of the missing aircraft. The air force said that due to strong currents from the river, the search area has been expanded eastward to Punta Colorada in southeast Uruguay.