Four relief workers killed in Chile helicopter crash

People search among the rubble in an area which was flooded in Chanaral, northern Chile, on April 1, 2015 (AFP Photo/Patricio Miranda)

Santiago (AFP) - A helicopter taking part in the emergency relief effort in flood-hit northern Chile has crashed, killing all four people on board, the air force said Thursday.

The civilian helicopter, a Bell 206, went missing Tuesday night in Atacama region, which was devastated last week by flash floods that killed at least 24 people and left 69 missing.

The wreckage was found Thursday morning.

"Unfortunately, all the occupants of the aircraft were killed," the air force said in a statement.

The helicopter was transporting workers sent to restore water service to the tens of thousands of people left without drinking water after the floods.

The pilot was married to a cousin of Chilean President Michelle Bachelet.

The flash floods in the normally arid north swept away entire towns, prompting the government to declare a state of emergency and send in some 7,000 soldiers and police to help with the clean-up effort.