A security officer and an alleged robber were killed on Wednesday in a shootout at the airport in the Chilean capital.
Interior Deputy Secretary Manuel Monsalve said about 10 heavily armed robbers were able to get past security measures to reach the runway at Arturo Merino Benitez International Airport, where a LATAM Airlines plane carrying $32.5 million in cash, which was hijacked by a was being transferred to the armored truck.
A shootout ensued between the potential robbers and security officers, resulting in the death of an employee of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, or DGAC, as well as an alleged assailant.
The other robbers fled. Later two burnt vehicles were found nearby.
“Brave action by the DGAC officers foiled the robbery,” Monsalve said, noting that the robbers were “highly organized” and “very armed”.
Videos posted on social media showed gunshot wounds to a Delta aircraft that was parked next to the targeted LATAM aircraft. Another video shows a moment of the shootout, during which gunshots can be heard.
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“There was no danger to the passengers,” said Raul Zorquera, head of the DGAC.
The attempted robbery targeted $32.5 million that was set to be transferred to an armored truck that was to be delivered to several banks in the South American country.
Jorkera said that the robbery attempt “will undoubtedly lead us to modify procedures, protocols, which must be improved… It forces us to rethink many things.”
It was not the first time the airport in the Chilean capital had been targeted. In 2020, thieves stole around $15 million from an airport warehouse, following a similar $10 million theft six years later.
President Gabriel Boric referred to the robbery during a speech on Wednesday in which he said that “when there is insecurity, everything else falters.”
An increase in violent crime has contributed to a recent decline in Boric’s approval ratings, according to polls.
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