Lieutenant Bello Goes Missing in Chile

On March 9, 1914, Chilean aviator Lieutenant Alejandro Bello Silva disappeared during his final qualifying flight for certification as a military pilot.

Lieutenant Bello

In order to succeed in qualifying for pilot certification, Bello had to complete a circuit from Lo Espejo aerodrome to Culitrín to Cartagena and then back to Lo Espejo, in the central region of Chile.

On his first attempt on March 9, 1914, Bello had to return to base due to near-zero visibility caused by heavy fog. Bello even damaged the aircraft he was flying during the landing, requiring a switch to another aircraft for the second attempt. On the second attempt, Bello took off together with one companion and an instructor. At some point during the flight, Bello became lost in the clouds and he was never seen again. Many searches in the days that followed his disappearance and over the course of the past century failed to find any trace of Bello or his aircraft.

In Chile, the expression “more lost than Lieutenant Bello” (más perdido que el Teniente Bello) is applied to people who stray off course or disappear en route.