Tania Tamayo, author of the book that reconstructs the fateful flight of Casa C-212 to Juan Fernández: “There has not been a unified investigation into the reasons for the tragedy”


On Friday September 2, 2011, the media warned of a tragedy that has become a before and after for Chilean pop culture, an Air Force plane (FACH) that carried 21 passengers with aid to Juan Fernández Island after the earthquake of 2010 and tsunami, fell into the sea. On the plane were airmen, teams from the Desafío Levantemos Chile organization, the Council for Culture and the Arts and the Buenos Días a Todos program, including one of the country’s most beloved TV personalities, Felipe Camiroaga: after the crash, all passengers died.

Eleven years later, the journalist and academic of the Faculty of Communication and Image of the University of Chile, Tania Tamayo, published the book The Great Terrible Flight. The tragedy of Casa C-212 in Juan Fernández (Editions B, 2022). The author has moved away from the media coverage focused on the grief left by the deaths of the 21 passengers and focused on the unresolved questions of what really happened on September 2, 2011.

The writer has undertaken a journalistic investigation that reconstructs the facts through the examination of documents and also of people who have been part of the story, such as fishermen, boat captains and divers.

“Even though it hit the headlines and programming channels, even though it affected the whole country, and there’s no one who doesn’t remember what they were doing the day they learned of the tragedy, there was no unified investigation into the reasons for the tragedy, but neither was it a story that considered all the human groups involved, the fishermen and divers of Juan Fernandez, the local people, the families of the victims themselves, who mostly feel that there is no it was justice In short, with this tragedy -despite its topicality- a feeling of spectacularization has been generated, which fades over time”, explains the author to The meter.

For Tania Tamayo it was important to go into the details of the case and go beyond the media figures.

“As much as the media coverage was given, and how important were those who were on that plane and lost their lives, what happened behind it was not revealed, the human errors, the imprudence, the improvised measures of the Fach, before and after the accident. Mainly the trail of pain it left, in the families of the 21, and which was not reported by the media,” he says.

In this sense she is emphatic and maintains that in her opinion the perpetrators of the tragedy were “the Air Force and the Civil Aeronautics Directorate”.

As for the political pressure related to the case, the author of , said he could not be traced.

“To date, the Fach claims that in those years it has not received any request for an appeal from Levantemos Chile and that it would never make a trip of these characteristics if it were not ordered by the executive. On the other hand, the executive, represented by the Ministry of Defence, to date he claims that he has not participated in any meetings or decisions related to that trip. So logic dictates that it was evidently masterminded by the highest echelons,” says Tamayo.

Investigative journalism

The writer has been working in investigative journalism for years and has published the books The water business. How Chile Became Mainland, Fire in Tower 5: the 81 dead that the gendarmerie wants to forget, among others.

In this sense, he emphasizes that this type of investigation is relevant because “it does the deepest and hardest work that journalism can do. It focuses on everything that contingency and daily journalism does not reach or does not do for the interest of the lines media editorials”.

However, he expresses that he lacks “the support of the people, the support of the reader, otherwise it is very difficult to maintain independence.”

“Perhaps what is missing is also reaching people on the street, who don’t understand why it is important. But in this one must do mea culpa. They award prizes, for being the one who delivers the most results, but they don’t advance towards a language that includes those affected by abuse of power or corruption, to reach those who need to be reached,” she concludes.

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