Plane hit by bullets and two dead in failed $32 million airport robbery in Chile | world news

Two people have been killed in an airport shootout in the Chilean capital in what authorities said was an attempt to steal more than $32 million in cash on a plane from Miami.

A security guard and a suspected thief were killed in Wednesday’s incident after a dozen heavily armed robbers bypassed security measures to reach the runway at Arturo Merino Benitez International Airport.

They had attempted to steal $32.5m (£27.4m) in cash from a LATAM Airlines plane which was being transferred to an armored truck, Interior Undersecretary Manuel said Monsalve.

A shootout then took place between the would-be thieves and the security guards, killing an employee of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGAC), as well as a suspected attacker.

The other thieves fled the scene and two burned vehicles were later found nearby.

“The courageous action of DGAC officials frustrated the theft,” Monsalve said, noting that the alleged attackers were “highly organized” and “very armed”.

Footage shared on social media appeared to show bullet holes in a Delta aircraft that was parked next to the targeted LATAM aircraft.

Another clip appears to capture a moment in the shooting during which several gunshots can be heard.

DGAC chief Raul Jorquera said there was “no risk” to passengers.

The 32.5 million dollars that were transferred in an armored truck were to be distributed to several banks in the South American country.

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Mr Jorquera said the attempted robbery “will undoubtedly cause us to revise processes, protocols that need to be improved…it forces us to rethink a lot of things”.

The incident is not the first time the airport in Chile has been targeted.

In 2020, thieves stole around $15m (£12.6m) from an airport warehouse – six years after a similar $10m (£8.4m) heist.

In a speech on Wednesday, President Gabriel Boric condemned the latest robbery, saying “when there is insecurity, everything else falters.”

Recent polls suggest an increase in violent crime has contributed to a drop in Mr Boric’s approval ratings.


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