SANTIAGO, (Reuters) – A foiled multimillion-dollar heist at Chile’s largest airport left two dead, highlighting concerns of rising crime in the Andean nation.
Footage widely shared on social media shows a shootout between robbers and officials from Chile’s DGAC aviation agency below a LATAM Airlines plane at the Arturo Merino Benitez International Airport in Santiago.
Authorities said one robber and a DGAC airport security official died during the attempted robbery.
At La Moneda presidential palace in Santiago, Deputy Interior Minister Manuel Monsalve told reporters about 10 robbers entered the airport early Wednesday in three vehicles after tying up a security guard.
“There was an intense exchange of gunfire,” Monsalve said, noting that security officials “foiled a robbery by a highly organized, highly armed and probably very well-planned robbery.”
The plane, which had arrived from Miami, was carrying $32.5 million to be transported locally by security provider Brinks.
Raul Jorquera, general director of the DGAC, told reporters that no passengers were at risk during the encounter, and that the robbers had “high capacity firepower” to steal the money.
Organized crime in Chile has spiked in recent years, including elaborate train heists and multimillion dollar robberies at the country’s main seaport.