SANTIAGO, Chile — All 21 people including a TV news crew aboard a military aircraft that crashed into the Pacific Ocean off the remote Juan Fernandez islands perished, Chile's government said on Saturday, as rescuers and fishermen scoured for bodies.
Search and rescue teams have recovered four bodies so far in the wake of Friday's crash, one of the worst air disasters Chile has suffered in recent years.
"One arrives at the conclusion that the impact was so strong that it must have killed those aboard instantly," Defense Minister Andres Allamand said.
Hopes dimmed earlier of finding survivors from one of the worst air crashes in the country in recent years.
"It seems like a violent accident that didn't leave anyone alive," Maximiliano Larraechea, secretary general of the Chilean air force, told reporters. "But we're still not losing hope and we're going to continue searching in the same way."
Fishermen and rescuers combing the waters around the Pacific islands found the bodies of two men and two women, he added.
The CASA C-212 military plane tried twice to land before it went missing as heavy winds and sporadic rains hit the area, the defense minister said.
Among the passengers were five TVN national television staff members, including well-known show host Felipe Camiroaga, who were planning to film a report about reconstruction on the islands after last year's devastating earthquake and tsunami.
The islands were one of areas worst affected by the quake.
Camiroaga hosted Television Nacional's program "Good Morning Everyone" and the popular show "Nocturnal Animal," and he was co-host of the Vina del Mar music festival in 2009 and 2010.
"We are extremely upset," said TVN executive director Mauro Valdes.
Also on board was businessman Felipe Cubillos, a brother-in-law of the defense minister who had been working on post-earthquake reconstruction.
The air force plane took off from the capital, Santiago, at 2 p.m. local time (1700 GMT), and lost contact with air control almost four hours later, according to a statement from aviation authorities.
The CASA C-212 is a twin-engine, high-wing transport aircraft used around the world. It's built in Spain and Indonesia.
The remote Chilean archipelago, about 515 miles west of Chile's coast, is known for possibly having inspired the novel Robinson Crusoe.
"It's a difficult runway, but not impossible," Julio Subercaseaux, president of Chile's federal aviation authority, told state television.
This article contains reporting from The Associated Press and Reuters.