Chilean investigators have opened an inquiry after a helicopter crash in the Los Rios region which claimed the life of the country’s former president, Sebastian Pinera.

The helicopter was registered CC-PHP, states the Chilean directorate-general of civil aeronautics.

This corresponds to the registration of a Robinson R44 which was originally delivered in July 2007, according to fleet data from Cirium.

It had taken off in the vicinity of Lago Ranco, a lake around 780km south of the Chilean capital Santiago.

After a “few minutes of flight”, says the directorate-general, it came down in the lake.

Pinera was the only fatality among the four occupants of the helicopter, it adds, which crashed at around 15:30 on 6 February.

Sebastian Pinera-c-Chilean presidential office

Source: Chilean presidential office

Pinera twice served as the president of Chile

The directorate-general has not confirmed the operator of the aircraft or who was flying.

It states that emergency services and naval personnel have been working at the scene, while the accident investigation department is commencing an inquiry.

Pinera twice served as the president of Chile, with an initial term spanning 2010-14 followed by a second, non-consecutive term in 2018-22.

He was an entrepreneur with business interests which included a significant shareholding in Chile’s flag-carrier – then known as LAN Airlines – which Pinera sold after taking office.