VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 4, 2011 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI is lamenting the victims of the air crash in Chile on Friday, which left some 21 dead.
After attempting to land twice in windy conditions at the airport on the Juan Fernandez islands, some 415 miles off the Chilean coast, a small turboprop-powered aircraft crashed into the Pacific Ocean.
As of Sunday, only four bodies had been recovered. Officials state that all most likely died instantly, and that it's possible that not all the bodies will be found.
Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Pope's secretary of state, sent a telegram on behalf of the Holy Father to Archbishop Ricardo Ezzati of Santiago de Chile, who is also the president of the Episcopal Conference of Chile.
The note expressed the Pope's condolences and assured the Pope's "closeness and comfort to the families that are mourning their loss."
Benedict XVI assured that he will pray to the Lord on behalf of the families of the victims for "the gifts of spiritual serenity and Christian hope," as well as offer "fervent prayers for the eternal rest of the departed."
The CASA C-212 carried 21 people, among them was television personality Felipe Camiroaga, and businessman Felipe Cubillos, who is also the brother-in-law of the Chile's defense minister.
The team was traveling to survey the advances of the efforts to rebuild in the wake of the 2010 earthquake that devastated many parts of the nation.
On Sunday, President Sebastian Pinera stated that Chile would observe two days of national mourning.