Two dead in failed Chile airport heist

An aviation worker and a would-be robber died in a shootout Wednesday during a failed heist at the international airport in Santiago, Chile, officials said.

About a dozen armed robbers struck as workers were transferring $32.5 million in cash into an armored truck at the Arturo Merino Benitez International Airport.

"Valuable cargo arrived on a LATAM plane from Miami which was to be taken by the Brinks (security) company, at which point the subjects burst into the area and were repelled by security officials," said prosecutor Eduardo Baeza, who is in charge of the investigation.

The robbers had entered the airport in three vehicles in the early morning, broke through a gate and headed for the cargo area.

A shootout ensued with security officials claiming the lives of one of the intruders and an employee of the civil aviation directorate named as Claudio Villar Rodriguez, 45.

Thwarted, the rest of the robbers fled and set fire to two of their vehicles on a highway nearby.

A manhunt was under way.

President Gabriel Boric vowed that the criminals would be brought to justice.

"We will pursue... those who put the lives of our compatriots at risk," he said at an event at the presidential palace.

The police, he added, "have our full support to confront this terrible evil."

The airport has been targeted before: In 2020, heavily armed robbers took $15 million from an armored truck at Santiago airport and in 2014 another group made off with more than $10 million.