Chilean plane crashes with 21 aboard

A Chilean airforce plane with 21 people aboard has crashed into the ocean about 420 miles off the country's Pacific coast.

The fate of those on the plane is still unknown, and in the capital of Santiago people lit candles and prayed for them, Xinhua reports.

Sebastian Pinera, Chilean President, said, "I empathize with the anguish and uncertainty the relatives of the 21 passengers aboard the plane which is presumed to have gone down are living through at this moment."

"I want to give them my solidarity and tell them that the entire country shares their anguish and uncertainty."

According to officials, the plane landed close to the Juan Fernandez islands, after trying twice tried to land in the late afternoon, Xinhua reports.

A local radio station, Bio Bio, cited the mayor of the islands, Leopoldo Gonzalez, as saying that a door of the plane had been found in the water, the New York Times reports.

Search teams had begun heading to the area but nightfall would make any rescue efforts difficult.

The mayor of the islands told media that passengers' belongings had been found in the sea less than a mile from the islands' landing strip.

Chilean national TV said five of its staff members were among the passengers, including popular anchor Felipe Camiroaga.