In the news here...Chile has declared two days of national mourning for the losses from a small airplane that crashed this Saturday. All 21 passengers plus crew are presumed dead. The plane was trying to land on Robinson Crusoe Island, which is part of the Juan Fernandez Islands, about 400 miles west of Valparaiso. It is most famous as the location for sailor's Alexander Selkirk's marooning for four years, which may have inspired the novel.
As you can see by the picture, not an easy landing and September winds in this part of the world would have made it even more difficult. The losses included a well-known business leader and philanthropist as well as a popular TV host and his crew. Also on board were some leaders from the Valparaiso's municipal cultural board.
When something like this happens, one realizes that Chile is a relatively small country (pop. 16 million) and Valparaiso is a small town (pop. 300,000) because so many people we know are directly touched by the tragedy; ie. our principal's uncles were part of the group of fishermen who went out to try to search and rescue despite the dangerous waves surrounding the island or we were going to our friends' school on Saturday for a festival and it was canceled because one of the parents from that school had been on board, etc. There is definitely a subdued feeling all around.