Operators set up emergency communications following fatal air crash

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Chilean mobile operators Movistar and Entel on Saturday expanded cellular and satellite network coverage and implemented roaming on the remote Juan Fernández islands following a fatal air crash there on Friday, telecoms regulator Subtel said in a statement.

Subtel mandated the emergency contingency measures to help with the emergency response to the tragedy.

Technicians of both companies set up mobile satellite stations and cellular roaming between Entel and Movistar, the latter being the only with mobile and fixed coverage on the islands.

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Subtel head Jorge Atton recommended that anyone having to communicate to and from the archipelago prioritize the use of SMS to help avoid network congestion.

All 21 people on board a military aircraft that was travelling to the "Robinson Crusoe" islands were killed after the plane crashed into the sea during difficult weather conditions.

The plane contained journalists and a popular TV presenter from the national TV channel TVN as well as aid workers and military personnel. The team was due to report on the reconstruction of the island community, which was devastated by the February 2010 tsunami.